Methods

The study is a cluster Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) which means that schools are allocated randomly as experimental or control schools. We will use the RCT to test the effectiveness of the interventions for small groups of children in each school.

The Participants

Twelve Sydney primary schools have participated in this study since 2009.

From each school, approximately 20 school children in kindergarten and year 1 (5-7 year olds) and their parents kindly agreed to participate. Data on children's physical activity levels, social skills and self concept are being collected.

Interventions

The idea that was piloted in 2005 is now “in for the real test.” Kidproofed, recycled materials are placed in the school playgrounds and the children are allowed to play with these not-apparently-toy items in ways that they create. The hypothesis is that this will harness their intrinsic motivation and promote creativity, resilience, cooperation and physical activity. These materials remain at the primary school over 15 weeks.

As a second intervention, Anita Niehues, our PhD student, is studying parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of risk through group and individual discussions and interviews. The heart of that intervention is to help parents to examine the consequences of parenting decisions they make: both the consequences of allowing children to participate in certain activities as well as the consequences of not allowing them to participate.

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