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Creating Intriguing Outdoor Playground Spaces

The design of outdoor playground spaces significantly impacts how kids interact, discover, and learn in these environments. It’s crucial to analyze the outdoor areas that children have access to from multiple viewpoints, in order to comprehend the message these spaces convey. Dr. Beverlie Dietze, a prominent researcher who has spearheaded projects on children’s outdoor play, delivers this course on the importance of spatial design.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

Recognize spatial designs that bolster outdoor pedagogies and shape playground layouts.
Consider the reasons why playground designs are analyzed from various perspectives.
Outline how environmental factors such as surfacing, landscaping, and pathways contribute to how children choose to play in the space.

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About this course

What will I learn?

We all know that outdoor play spaces have many benefits to children’s development. This includes stronger immune systems, lower stress levels, and more active imaginations. However, these benefits aren’t completely random and can be easily attained with the right design. As playground designers, we must carefully choose the best way to configure our play spaces to maximize these benefits.

In this course, Dr. Beverlie Dietze will take you through a handful of key questions to ask while designing your play space. In addition, she’ll show you community and cultural attributes that you can incorporate into your playground.

  • Variety of Zones: Places for quiet and discovery (i.e. tunnels, hammocks) or places for group activity (i.e. tents, forts). Also includes the surrounding green spaces, as well as seasonal zones (i.e. gardens, planters).
  • Environmental Attributes: Includes safety surfacing, paths and wayfinding, shelter and shade systems, and the surrounding wildlife habitats. May also include Indigenous or locally appropriate ecology and materials.
  • Physical Movement and Play: Play that incorporates dangerous or risky elements, such as high speed or great heights. Also includes places where children may get lost or disappear (i.e. tree houses), as well as real tools (i.e. hammers, chisels).
  • Experiential Play: Play that engages the senses, such as water and sand play, musical instruments, art supplies, or dramatic play. May also include opportunities for learning, such as science and match activities.

Who is my instructor?

Dr. Beverlie Dietze is a consultant who specializes in early childhood development. Her work primarily focuses on improving staff development and program quality. With over 25 years of experience as an educator, researcher, and partner in play, she continues to be driven by her zeal to bring evidence-based practices into the field.

Dr. Dietze has authored numerous textbooks by Pearson Canada which are used in colleges and universities across the country. She also has a repertoire of peer-reviewed articles that explore the facets of adult education and early childhood pedagogy.

As the Director of Okanagan College’s Early Learning Institute, Dr. Dietze focuses on how outdoor play can shape the development of young children. Known for sparking thought-provoking discussions during her sessions, Dr. Dietze provides practical solutions that are grounded in global research. In addition, she also provides real-life case studies which help cement the significance of outdoor play.

Being an educational developer and researcher, Dr. Dietze shows a keen interest in promoting discussions about the benefits of outdoor play on children’s development. Finally, she offers a fresh perspective for professionals who are looking for new ways to incorporate outdoor play in their communities.

Who is this course for?

The great thing about our courses is that they’re designed for all levels of experience. Whether you’re a parent on a PAC planning your first playground, or a landscape architect with decades of experience, there’s always something new to learn. Plus, our courses offer a quick way to stay up to date with the most recent trends in playground design.

Our courses take into account multiple groups and audiences, all of whom have different needs for their playground. A few groups that will benefit from taking our courses include:

  • Parents: Parent volunteers will learn the most important aspects to consider when planning their playground project.
  • Teachers: Teachers will learn about the educational benefits of play and how to incorporate them on the playground.
  • Landscape Architects: Architects will learn innovative design ideas that they may use in their upcoming projects.
  • Parks & Recreation: Parks professionals will learn about recent advances in safety, inclusion, and sustainability.
  • Property Managers: Property managers will learn how playgrounds can attract families to live in their neighbourhood.
Beverlie Dietze, course instructor for "Creating Intriguing Outdoor Playground Spaces."

Dr. Beverlie Dietze

Director of Learning and Teaching, Okanagan College

Dr. Beverlie Dietze is a lead researcher at Okanagan College who specializes in the design of children's outdoor spaces. She has authored seven textbooks and several peer-reviewed articles, and is also the publisher of Play Outdoors Magazine.

More Courses?

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