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.
There may be a no more powerful learning environment for a child than a garden. In caring for a garden, children gain skills in patience, perseverance, discipline, and hard work which can last a lifetime. Designing Outdoor Environments for Children gives you all the tools you need to enrich and improve the children's experience.
- Children's Gardens
- The Design Process
- Sustainable Landscape Concepts
- Curriculum, Fund Raising and Partnerships
Designing Outdoor Environments for Children: Landscaping School Yards, Gardens and Playgrounds is a complete, practical toolkit for creating fun, safe, innovative, educational, and sustainable children's landscapes and play yards. Designing Outdoor Environments for Children also provides an expert guide that covers every aspect of the process, from launching the idea to obtaining funding, from ecological planning to involving children as participants.
In-depth help with:
Inspiring real-life examples:
- Designing a sustainable project.
- Conserving water and managing water quality.
- Deciding what to plant, how to plant it, and how to keep it growing.
- Conserving trees.
- Controlling erosion.
- Preserving wildlife.
- Creating an environment where children learn through doing.
From the Introduction:
- Storybook courtyard.
- Music garden.
- Barnyard setting.
- Nature trails.
- Wildlife habitats.
- Memorial gardens.
- Vegetable and fruit gardens.
- And more.
Childhood is a time for discovery, and for many children the most wonderful, powerful, life-changing discoveries they will ever make lie hidden in nature. Studies indicate that during our formative years we are genetically predisposed to explore our world and seek to understand it. In fact, the drive for exploration is a trait we share with all of our primate relatives. Yet these motivations cannot be explained simply by need for food, water, or survival. Biologist and developmentalist Jean Piaget has researched human development and determined that this urge is particularly intense during childhood (Verbeek and de Waal, 2002). Louise Chawla, International Coordinator of the Growing Up in Cities Program of UNESCO, supports this conclusion, stating that ages 6-12, commonly referred to as "Middle Childhood," is the natural period during which children are genetically programmed to form a bond with nature. She hypothesizes that this is due to the fact that our species originally would have developed survival skills during this age (Nixon, 1997). Far too many of us lose the willingness to seek understanding of nature and to become a part of it as we grow older.
A child's relationship with nature is a perfect one; both partners have something critically important to offer and something essential to gain. As much of the research represented within this book suggests, children benefit from interaction with nature in all aspects of their development: physical, mental, moral, and emotional. The critical bond between nature and a child benefits the natural world as well, for research indicates that it is during childhood that people form their values concerning nature. In fact, the vast majority of people who grow up to devote themselves to conservation, or live environmentally responsible lives, attribute their attitudes to the love born in their childhood and to the adults who taught them through example the importance of nature.
There was once a time when a nature-based childhood was the natural condition, but that is not the case today. More children today lack daily contact with natural environments than ever before (Nabhan and Trimble, 1994). A major factor contributing to this trend is that more children are growing up in urban and suburban environments. According to the United Nations Report of the Secretary General on World Demographic Trends, published in April 2005, half the world's population will live in cities by 2007. In the United States, 87 percent of the population lives in cities (World Demographic Trends, 2005). When nature no longer occurs naturally in childhood, it is imperative that parents, educators, designers, planners, policy makers, and other work to provide ample opportunities for children to explore nature and develop that innate bond. Current trends toward providing nature-based experiences, such as gardens, parks, restoration habitats, and a variety of environmental education opportunities for children are enthusiastic, innovative, and widespread. The scale of successful projects can vary from the low-budget restoration of an undeveloped green space for neighborhood children to the creation of a dynamic fully staffed public children's garden.
A lifeless landscape of concrete is no substitute for natural spaces and gardens. It is through a partnership between eager children and supportive adults that nurturing landscapes can be created and provided so that no child will suffer the void of a desolate landscape.
Chapter 1: History and Development; The History of Children's Gardens, Nature and Development, A Place of Their Own: Giving Nature Back to Children. Chapter 2: The Design Process; The Design Team, Steps of the Design Process, Maintenance and Evaluation, Installation by Volunteers, Maintenance by Volunteers, Case Studies. Chapter 3: Children's Gardens; Introduction, Adventure Gardens, Edible Gardens, Memorial Gardens, Music Gardens, Story Book Gardens, Water Gardens, Case Studies. Chapter 4: Schoolyards, Playgrounds, and Backyards; Historical Development of Playgrounds, Trends in Playground Design, Role of Municipal and County Park and Recreation Departments in Providing Play Places for Children, Safety in Play Area Design, Case Studies. Chapter 5: Sustainable Landscape Concepts; Water Conservation, Energy Conservation, Low Maintenance, Case Studies. Chapter 6: Curriculum, Fundraising, Community Partnerships, and Service Learning; Educating Teachers on How to Use Gardens, Fundraising and Building the Project, Experiential Service Learning Partnerships, Case Studies. Conclusion. Resources: Public Children's Gardens, Organizations and Selected Internet Resources, References, Index.
About the Authors
Lolly Tai, PhD, RLA, FASLA (Amber, PA) is Chair and Professor of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at Temple University.
Mary Taylor-Haque, RLA, ASLA (Clemson, SC) is a professor at Clemson University.
Gina K McLellan (Clemson, SC) is a professor at Clemson University.
Erin Jordan-Knight (Greenville, SC) is dedicated to service, protection and beautification of land.