Designing Outdoor Environments for Children: Landscaping School Yards, Gardens and Playgrounds
McGraw Hill Professional, Jun 30, 2010 - Architecture - 380 pages
This unique resource expertly details the design, installation, and maintenance of sustainable children's landscapes and play yards. Numerous case studies cover projects including storybook courtyards, music and barnyard gardens, nature trails, wildlife habitats, memorial, and edible gardens.
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Practical advise for the novice that covers all of the aspects necessary to actually implement an outdoor design; the table of contents does not lie. As a landscape architect, I even found helpful information, particularly in using volunteers, the many case studies, and fundraising sections. I do think it could be more concise, much of the writing seems redundant, and there's a need for more specific examples to explain concepts. It left me feeling 'yes, but how...exactly?'. I realize it's intended for the beginner, but still.
The section on safety is particularly vexing. The author acknowledges the inherent contradiction between designing to an elevated perceived safety threat, lest a child get a splinter or bruise on occasion, and designing environments that meet the aforementioned play fundamentals of diversity and opportunities to modify and change the environment during play. "Mystery stimulates curiosity, which leads to learning, and yet it is this quality that is so often stripped from school-yards in the name of safety". I'm confused, you just said stripping all of this to make it safe is of "paramount importance"? However, the critical discussion on how to reconcile these conflicting values is missing unfortunately. I say "critical" because there are staunch advocates in both the 'safety' court and the 'nature' court, and they seem to be growing further and further apart as our culture continues to detach from our natural roots. The idea that the outdoors is unsafe and even dangerous is vehemently defended by some. I think of the look of terror and her panicked gargle as one mother dove, screaming, onto her toddler to stop her from eating some snow recently. Ewww, nature!
Chapter 6 Curriculum Fundraising Community Partnerships and Service Learning