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Osmotion : balancing gradients in the schoolyard Maddaugh, Alison

Abstract

Recent theory on child development suggests that environments designed for children need to provide for their physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Elementary schoolyards are typically used by children between the ages of five and thirteen, but the spatial allocation of play opportunities provided for older versus younger children is often inequitable. The age range of elementary school children reflects a diverse level of interests and abilities. Such diversity may be accommodated in the schoolyard by providing a range of play opportunities that are appropriate for younger and older children alike, and respond to the child's need for physical, sensorial, intellectual and social engagement. The variety of play opportunities provided, the spatial requirements of each, and the flow of movement between them are all essential components of playground design. This paper reviews contemporary theory regarding child development as well as principals that guide the design of children's learning and play environments, and describes a design proposal that incorporates them.

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