Affordances of Orchard and Forest as Playscape for Young Children in Malaysia

Said, Ismail and Shamsuddin, Mohd Suhaizan (2009) Affordances of Orchard and Forest as Playscape for Young Children in Malaysia. In: 3rd SEATUC Symposium – South East Asian Technical University Consortium Symposium, February 2009.


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In Europe and North America, there is a plethora of studies on importance of outdoor environment on children’s functioning. Young children perceive outdoor environment such as forest, camp ground and park as playscape offering a variety of functional properties called affordances. This study presents empirical findings on a phenomenological inquiry on young children’s behavioral responses experiencing orchard and forest in Perak, Malaysia. Through a participatory investigation on 18 middle childhood boys, the authors documented sensorial and motoric actions of the children using note taking and tape recording. The behavioral data were analyzed in two ways: levels of affordances and taxonomy of affordances. The two-day experience revealed 65 affordances which was dominated by utilized affordances (n=38), followed by perceived affordances (n=23), and lastly, shaped affordances (n=4). The result suggests the children were active in performatory and exploratory activities such as hiking on trail, picking fallen durian fruits, plucking leaves, climbing slippery slopes, holding treelets and rattan climbers to climb slopes, ducking under fallen log, picking pebbles from stream bed, throwing pebbles on water surface, and many more. These motoric activities were associated or generated by perceiving the orchard and forest features including scanning trails and forest floor, hearing sound of birds and cicadas, observing water cascade and water striders, avoiding touching spiny rattans, and more. Finally, in the taxonomy of affordances, most of the children’s performances were with vegetations, examples were observing durian fruits on tree branches, searching fallen fruits, grasping fruit stalks, picking attractive yellow pods, breaking pods with fingers, and seeing marble-like seeds in the pods. The study suggests that orchard and forest were playscape for young children to perform, explore and manipulate natural elements.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Young Children, Affordances, Forest and Orchard Environment, Functioning
Divisions: Faculty of Built Environment > Landscape Architecture
Depositing User: FAB IR Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 05:48
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2013 05:48

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