Outdoor environmental assessment of attention promoting settings for preschool children

Health Place. 2009 Dec;15(4):1149-57. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Jul 16.


The restorative potential of green outdoor environments for children in preschool settings was investigated by measuring the attention of children playing in settings with different environmental features. Eleven preschools with outdoor environments typical for the Stockholm area were assessed using the outdoor play environment categories (OPEC) and the fraction of visible sky from play structures (sky view factor), and 198 children, aged 4.5-6.5 years, were rated by the staff for inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behaviors with the ECADDES tool. Children playing in large and integrated outdoor areas containing large areas of trees, shrubbery and a hilly terrain showed less often behaviors of inattention (p<.05). The choice of tool for assessment of attention is discussed in relation to outdoor stay and play characteristics in Swedish preschool settings. The results indicate that the restorative potential of green outdoor environments applies also to preschool children and that environmental assessment tools as OPEC can be useful when to locate and develop health-promoting land adjacent to preschools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environment Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Schools, Nursery*