District Administration February 2018 - 5

SPONSORED CONTENT

John McConkey
Market Insights Director
Landscape Structures

Well-designed playgrounds develop important
skills that contribute to successful adult life
Landscape Structures creates inclusive play environments
that welcome children and families of all abilities
How does children's play behavior on school and
community playgrounds contribute to physical, social,
emotional and cognitive development?
Physical activity offers rich opportunities for different
types of movement patterns. It helps children with balance
and coordination, muscle strength and endurance, and
sensory motor development. When children are engaged in
social, imaginary play, they are creating rules and roles for
games and they are also developing skills like empathy and
negotiation. There is also an understanding of cause and
effect of activities and outcomes. Playgrounds are unique in
that they are some of the last remaining environments that
offer children these opportunities.
How does play behavior prepare children for successful
adult life?
Behaviors that are learned early in children's lives become
foundational. Beyond the physical, play builds leadership
skills such as collaboration, communication, critical
thinking, creativity, courage and confidence. These are
things that children practice and learn through play, and
they are key skills that can enable success as youngsters
grow into adults.
Talk about the growing infringement on children's play
opportunities.
We did a study where we reached out to parents, and
more than 75 percent of respondents agreed that children
need an adequate amount of free playtime. Unfortunately,
more than half of the respondents also said they felt their
children had fewer opportunities to play today, as opposed
to 20 years ago. Most parents reported their children get
one hour or less of free, unstructured playtime each day.
We know on a national level that 40 percent of schools are
reducing recess time. There are, however, a few glimmers
of hope. Chicago Public Schools passed a policy that
requires recess to be part of the daily curriculum.

"Beyond the physical, play builds
leadership skills such as collaboration,
communication, critical thinking,
creativity, courage and confidence."
What can well-designed playgrounds do for children?
Playgrounds should be designed for age and developmental
appropriateness and inclusion. Playgrounds need different
types of activities scaled appropriately that offer ageappropriate levels of risk. It is important for children to
evaluate and overcome risk, which contributes to ongoing
mastery and development. Inclusion offers opportunities
for social engagement, focusing on communication, taking
turns and managing impulse control. The playground
needs to be accessible. That might be a system of ramps
that allows access for a child who uses some type of
mobility aid, or offers access for adults. Another concept is
providing a range and variety of activities such as various
spinners scaled at different heights. This allows all children
to find their just-right fit. Spinning develops the vestibular
system, which is essential for motor coordination and
movement. Offering different types of activities helps build
a solid foundation for reasoning, mathematics, reading skills
and emotional self-regulation.

For more information, visit playlsi.com
View, comment, share this story online at DAmag.me/playlsi


http://www.playlsi.com http://www.playlsi.com http://www.DAmag.me/playlsi

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration February 2018

District Administration February 2018 - Intro
District Administration February 2018 - Cover1
District Administration February 2018 - Cover2
District Administration February 2018 - 1
District Administration February 2018 - 2
District Administration February 2018 - 3
District Administration February 2018 - 4
District Administration February 2018 - 5
District Administration February 2018 - 6
District Administration February 2018 - 7
District Administration February 2018 - 8
District Administration February 2018 - 9
District Administration February 2018 - 10
District Administration February 2018 - 11
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District Administration February 2018 - Cover3
District Administration February 2018 - Cover4
District Administration February 2018 - 66
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