Should educators be ‘wrapping school playgrounds in cotton wool’ to encourage physical activity? Exploring primary and secondary students’ voices from the school playground

Document Type


Publication details

Hyndman, B 2015, 'Should educators be 'wrapping school playgrounds in cotton wool'?, paper presented to the Strengthening partnerships in teacher education: building community, connections and creativity’, the annual conference of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), Darwin, 8-10 July.

Peer Reviewed



The promotion of physical activity in schools is important for students to lay the foundation habits for a healthy lifestyle that can track into adulthood and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Although research is beginning to recognise that school playground safety can influence students’ activity levels, school playgrounds have changed considerably over recent decades to reflect a climate of ‘surplus safety’. This research provides useful information for teacher educators of the multiple safety influences on students’ participation in school playground activities within the context of school break periods. Many school play spaces are designed by adults, therefore teachers, educational leaders, designers and researchers could use the perceptions of students in this study to ensure future school playgrounds are designed for safe participation.