Toronto Metropolitan University
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Playing by different rules: indicators of happiness on playgrounds

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posted on 2021-05-25, 07:14 authored by Michelle Rowland
As our cities continue to urbanize, opportunities for children’s unstructured outdoor play are declining. Play is a right to children, and holds a critical role in children’s lives. Creating opportunities for play during school hours produces significant physical and social health benefits. OPAL (Outdoor Play and Learning) is a registered community interest program originating in England transforming attitudes to play supervision, environment and provision within schools. In Toronto, Canada an OPAL pilot project is being implemented at six public elementary schools. Using data from this pilot, this study examines how differences in happiness while playing at schools vary across play conditions and duration. The study explores baseline data collected in Spring 2016 among 352 of 9-12-year-old children, attending grades 4 to 6. Binomial logistic regression was performed for recess and lunch play showing the correlation between happiness and play duration. There are statistically significant relationships between happiness and play conditions. Key words: outdoor play, unstructured, happiness, children, Toronto





  • Master of Planning


  • Urban Development

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP