Refining a Games Testing Tool for Various Cultural, Social, and Geographic Situations to Evaluate Pre-School Children’s Bioaffinity
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Time spent in nature has been proven to enhance children’s cognitive, attitudinal, emotional, and physical development (Driessnack, 2009; Giusti et al. 2014; Bratman et al. 2015; Kardan et al. 2015; McClain and Vandermaas-Peeler, 2016; Broom, 2017). Previous studies by Giusti et al. (2014), Omidvar (2018) and Omidvar et al. (2019) have used psychological games testing to measure children’s bioaffinity (a child's love of/for or connection to nature). While Giusti et al. (2014) found positive bioaffinity results with 5-year-old Swedish children, the Omidvar et al. (2018 and 2019) studies conducted with 3-5-year-old children at Reggio-Emilia Inspired preschools in Halifax, NS, Canada found that children's affinity with nature was weak. The discrepancies between the Swedish and Canadian studies led Omidvar (2018) and Omidvar et al. (2019) to recommended further research and testing to determine the appropriateness of the Giusti et al. (2014) measure for younger children, and whether refining the tool will increase participant understanding of the test questions and therefore more accurate results. As such, this study sought to modify the Giusti et al. (2014) tool to be more geographically and developmentally appropriate for younger children and then tested it on a cohort of 3-5-year-old Canadian preschool children. Results of the test modification and subsequent pilot test suggest that the modifications made to the Giusti et al. (2014) tool were effective in enhancing the children’s understanding of the games testing primarily because of the reduction in the time needed to complete the testing, an increase in child engagement via physical games, and the modification of the test to include culturally and geographically relevant questions. Further, preliminary analyses of the pilot tests showed positive bioaffinity results amongst the children. While the results showcase the benefits of cultural and developmental modifications to the test, future studies are necessary to determine the validity and reliability of the modified tool.