What students want and need within school playgrounds for safety and play freedom

Document Type


Publication details

Hyndman, B 2017, 'What students want and need within school playgrounds for safety and play freedom', in B Hyndman (ed.), Contemporary school playground strategies for healthy students, Springer Nature, Singapore, pp. 117-124. ISBN: 9789811047381

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A growing culture of ‘surplus safety’ in Australian schools has emerged, which reflects the desire of parents and teachers responsible for students to protect them from danger. Students can lose confidence to be active within school playground from an adult culture of over-protection. Adult concerns of danger from school playgrounds could stem from playground equipment being the leading cause of all child fall-related hospitalisation in Australia. Although a number of Victorian and New South Wales studies have described the detrimental effects of a culture of ‘surplus safety’ and there is a high national hospitalisation rate from playground injury, little is known about students’ perceptions of playground safety when participating in activities. It is important to gain insight into students’ perceptions of playground safety influences, as students are the primary users of school playgrounds for activities. Providing insight for the researchers and the teacher education community (schools, principals, teachers, teacher/educators/academics, pre-service teachers) of the playgrounds’ safety influences that can inform safer school playground policies, supervision and intervention.