Space, Place, and Privacy: Preschool Children's Secret Hiding Places

Malinda J. Colwell, Kristi Gaines, Michelle Pearson, Kimberly Corson, Holly D. Wright, Brandon J. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Young children create spaces to claim as their own within their larger environments. Some spaces serve social and play functions, while others may offer a sense of security and safety, as suggested by prospect-refuge theory (Appleton, J. (1975). The experience of landscape. New York: John Wiley and Sons). Although we know that children create secret spaces for themselves, less is known about how children construct these spaces. This study used focus groups to learn what materials preschoolers would like to create spaces within their classrooms. Then, children were given the materials and provided time to create spaces. Results showed that children preferred flexible materials (e.g., blankets, bed sheets, cardboard tubes), worked collaboratively to create their spaces, and that the spaces provided refuge for the children. Implications for children's social development, classroom environment, and early childhood education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalFamily and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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