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Fifth-, sixth-, and seventh- grade students' use of non-classroom spaces during recess: The case of three private schools in Izmir, Turkey
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This study investigates fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students' place preferences between indoor and outdoor non-classroom spaces during recess and their activity patterns in these spaces in three private elementary schools. The study explores whether differences in the variety and organization of the spaces of school facilities have an impact on the place preferences of students and whether students are aware of the reasons for their preferences. Students' place preferences and their activities were determined with field observations and a 30-item questionnaire with Yes/No and open-ended questions. A total of 173 students (n = 51 School 1; n = 70 School 2; and n = 52 School 3) participated in the questionnaire. The Chi-Square test, a non-parametric statistical analysis test, was used to analyze the students' answers to the questionnaire. The results indicate that students prefer places which offer variety and which are large enough to avoid congestion and that, in general, students are aware of the spatial features of their environments and make choices accordingly. When students are given a choice of outdoors or indoors, they tend to choose according to which is more conducive to their activities. If both outdoor and indoor spaces are conducive, students tend to use both. If neither is conducive to their activities, students either alter their behavior patterns, for example, developing a preference for stationary activities or staying inside the classroom, or they convert available spaces to accommodate their activities. It is concluded that students are good sources of information in the design and planning of the environments they occupy. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.