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Playgroup Ecology

Peter K. Smith and Kevin J. Connolly

For some years now we have been studying the behaviour of preschool children in nurseries and playgroups. From our early observations a feature which most caught our attention was the difference in what went on in different preschools. In part, we felt the immediate physical and social environment of the preschool was having a strong effect on the children's behaviour - for example the size of the class, the amount of floor space and play equipment, the role of the preschool staff and the staff-child ratio. We decided to investigate the importance of these factors, using observational methods in the context of an experimental playgroup set up specifically for the research programme.

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