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The influence of houseplants in a child development center on young children's directed attention

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dc.contributor.advisor Read, Marilyn A.
dc.creator Harte, J. Davis
dc.date.accessioned 2010-12-21T22:16:35Z
dc.date.available 2010-12-21T22:16:35Z
dc.date.copyright 2010-12-01
dc.date.issued 2010-12-21
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/19593
dc.description Graduation date: 2011 en_US
dc.description.abstract The near physical environment is believed to be an integral component in creating quality learning and classroom environments for young children. Free-choice play periods during preschool daily curriculums are a widespread component of preschool early childhood education. Research has demonstrated that the presence of houseplants may be a contributor to human ability to self-regulate their attention. Behind their popularity as environmental enhancements seems to be a general belief that the emotional experience of viewing greenery will help foster a more restorative environment. Educational settings of almost every size employ houseplants in both formal and informal settings and spend reasonable financial and person-hour effort to maintain these elements. Despite their ubiquitous nature, the educational value of houseplants has not been well documented. The problem of children experiencing stress and directed attention fatigue familiar to adults (e.g. irritability, difficulty concentrating and increased proneness for mistakes), may be compounded by over- or under-stimulating classroom designs and layouts. The mechanism behind directed attention is a fragile but vital means for learning to occur. Maintaining focus to surrounding stimuli is one way directed attention becomes fatigued. Proponents of Attention Restoration Theory believe contact with nature or views of nature may allow the brain to rest and restore, thereby allowing renewed ability to focus. This study addresses the interior design element, houseplants, popular in childcare facilities as a natural element, in relationship to preschool children's directed attention. In a quasi-experimental video observational pilot study, two groups of preschool children's attentional behaviors were compared within subject during a free-choice play period. Specifically length of attention, type of attentional state and type of adaptive behavior are analyzed over an 8-week period while 32 participants' self-select engagement at a sensory-activity table. Due to the small sample size, statistically significant results could not be revealed, however, there is indication via Cohen's d effect sizes that there may be a positive relationship between the presence of a group of houseplants and an improvement in young children‟s ability to direct attention. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject attention restoration en_US
dc.subject directed attention en_US
dc.subject directed attention fatigue en_US
dc.subject houseplants en_US
dc.subject greenery en_US
dc.subject free-choice learning en_US
dc.subject preschool children en_US
dc.subject nature en_US
dc.subject classroom design en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Attention in children en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Classroom environment en_US
dc.subject.lcsh House plants in interior decoration en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Preschool children -- Psychology en_US
dc.title The influence of houseplants in a child development center on young children's directed attention en_US
dc.type Thesis/Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name Master of Science (M.S.) in Design and Human Environment en_US
dc.degree.level Master's en_US
dc.degree.discipline Health and Human Sciences en_US
dc.degree.grantor Oregon State University en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Cluver, Brigitte
dc.contributor.committeemember Dierking, Lynn D.
dc.contributor.committeemember Rowe, Shawn


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