Effect of play equipment on preschool children's participation in outdoor play activities in Suba East Division, Migori county
The central problem of this study is that despite the critical role of play equipment in promoting of children’s participation in outdoor play activities and holistic development, provision of these play equipment have been ignored over time. Factors leading to inadequate provision of play equipment have not been adequately investigated and well understood, hence hindering the participation of children in outdoor play activities and eventual holistic development which could only be achieved through play with opportunity to manipulate a variety of play equipment. To this end, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of play equipment on preschool children’s participation in outdoor play activities in Suba East, Division Migori County. The study sampled nine schools using stratified random sampling technique to ensure representativeness. From the nine sampled schools 3(33%) were public schools where as 6(67%) of them were private schools. From the sampled schools five children were selected to take part in the study and three teachers per school yielding a total of 45 children, 18 teachers and 9 head teachers. A questionnaire was used to collect data from teachers and head teachers on their role in provision of play activities, safety of play equipment as well as on availability of play equipment. Interview guides were also used to collect data from teachers and preschool children. Observation schedules were used to collect first hand data on availability of play equipment, types of play equipment, safety of play equipment as well as to check on the level of participation by children in outdoor activities. The research design used in the study was descriptive survey design. The main technique used to analyse data was through test retest in order to ascertain reliability of data collected. The major finding was that children were engaged in outdoor play with inadequate play equipment and without the supervision of teachers. Frequent repair and replacement of worn out play equipment was also lacking. Based on these finding it is recommended that preschool teachers should supervise children during play to ensure that the play equipment they use are safe, age appropriate and adequate. If possible teachers should improvise play equipment in cases where by the school is unable to install or buy commercial play equipment as a way of improving participation by children in outdoor play activities. Preschool teachers should be in serviced in the use of play equipment in outdoor play activities.