Learning Landscapes: Theoretical Issues and Design Considerations for the Development of Childrens Educational Landscapes
Weaver, Lisa L.
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Abstract: This study is designed to explore the applied behavioral research available to designers of educational landscapes and determine what aspects of that research can be extracted and applied to a physical landscape design. Its purpose is to create an awareness and understanding of the issues that designers should take into consideration to make an educational landscape design solution more developmentally appropriate for children. The literature review reveals that play forms the common link between learning and child development. The design considerations being presented in this study incorporate play. Being aware of and understanding the developmental and intellectual needs and abilities of children will give designers the foundation to make informed decisions and design choices in the creation of successful children's educational landscapes. The design considerations presented in this study are part of an exploratory investigation attempting to identify direct linkages between developmental/play activities and physical design elements. They offer a framework for creating landscape environments that meet the developmental needs of children. An existing educational landscape, the Jamestown Settlement near Williamsburg, Virginia will be evaluated in terms of these considerations. This educational landscape will be viewed from the perspective of a landscape architect aware of the developmental and play issues that surround child's learning as well as the potential for creating a site that offers a unique landscape experience. The outdoor learning environment is the site of the highest level of children's activity. It represents, at best, a potential site for investigation, exploration and practice of skills at various levels of complexity. At its worst, it is a static collection of objects offering little toward the developmental needs of the child. The landscape designer has the opportunity to provide a unique environment that supports the ways that children learn. The physical landscape has the potential to challenge children, offering choices in sight, smell, sound and touch. The landscape is ever-changing, providing broad learning opportunities where children can learn at their own pace, in their own unique style.
- Masters Theses