Playground Observation

For proper learning and development, safe environments are necessary for children. Safety and security are the main factors that can enhance learning in children. Thereby environments that provide entertainment to children include parks and must have great amount of safety and security. This paper will discuss some improvements that are needed in the park visited.

Parks are a place where children come for their refreshments while they play and learn from their partners in play. Many kinds of equipments are present in the playground that ensures learning and playing in children. However there are many improvements in modern day parks that can ensure learning along with playing in children ensuring development not only physicallybut in a psychological way (Playground Safety, 2010).

 Park that has been visited for this paper is Anniversary Park in Streamwood, Illinois (IL) located on Street 164, Lasalle Rd. From its outlook it is a well-developed park but there are some minor changes that are needed to ensure children safety. Park was visited in the evening hours when there are several families in the park. During the visit some observations were made and recorded as under while keeping in mind the importance of safety of children.

Playground safety
Outdoor equipment and playgrounds are best sources for children to enjoy fresh air and exercises. Playgrounds are mainly approached by children thereby safety concerns are important in this case.  Faulty equipment, improper surfaces and careless behaviors from adults have resulted in number of children being rushed to ER in hospitals daily (Spodek, and Saracho, 2006, p. 56).

Adult supervision should be ensured by observing that equipment in the playground is in accordance to the maturity level of children as well as it is safe. Any unsafe behavior around the equipment by children should be keenly observed. Anniversary Park in Streamwood lacks this main point that adults stand at a farther point where visibility of children is harder thereby leveling of ground is required (Hughes, 2009, p. 67).

Playground design safety needs to be ensured on daily basis making sure that all equipments being used by children are safe. Thereby on a daily basis, design, spacing of equipment and surface inspection is required to ensure safety (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2002).

In order to reduce injuries, park surfaces are in a need to be checked regularly. Surfaces in Anniversary Park in Streamwood are hard and are not softer. Ground surfaces of parks should be softer and should be able to provide cushioning in order to avoid injuries in case of a childs fall.  Ground material as concrete and blacktop are to be completely avoided in parks (Louv, 2005, p. 56).

Playground equipment design and safety is to be ensured in Anniversary Park in Streamwood by separating playground equipments that are used by older kids and those in use by younger kids. Groups of kids visiting playgrounds belong to three age groups, infants and toddlers less than 2 years of age, 2 to 5 year old kids who are preschoolers, and 5 to 12 year old school-age kids. This park is in a need of additional guardrails as well as protective barriers for surfaces that are more elevated in comparison to other surfaces (Tai, Haque, and McLellan, 2006, p. 67).

Maintenance and inspection is important in all parks including Anniversary Park in Streamwood. Some broken equipment has been spotted in this park thereby there is a need to keep an observed look on these broken equipments in order to prevent any injuries in children. Any metal equipment used in the parks should not be rusting and most importantly, any wooden equipment being used should not be cracking (Berry, 2001, p. 56).

Improvements required in Anniversary Park in Streamwood
It is important to realize that playground activities are an important part of development in children thereby safe play can ensure better psychological and physical development in children. Thereby playing should be considered as learning by park authorities (Solomon, 2005, p. 67).

Playground surfaces should be regularly checked for any irregularities and it should be ensured that no hard materials are used to avoid injuries in children. Playground surfaces should be softer and should provide cushioning effect on impact.

35 of time is spent in playgrounds of children as it is realized at schools that children learn faster with playing. Games and equipments in the parks should be addressing cognitive skills in children that can help them learn (Sadler, 2005, p. 56).

Once the feeling of trust is incorporated in children in playgrounds, they can learn fast. In Anniversary Park in Streamwood, there is a need of enclosed and sheltered play environments that can ensure safe feeling in children.

Space around play equipment should be adequate in order to ensure complete freedom for playing (Mattern, 2002, p. 67).

Equipments in playground should be placed in accordance to kinds of plays that enhance learning. Functional play is when toddlers and infants explore different objects moving hitherto in a repetitive manner thereby using their senses.

Materials are used to get an intended result in constructed play thereby plastic made and harmless building equipment is needed for children older than toddlers (Spodek, and Saracho, 2006, p. 67).
Symbolic plays are where children make use of symbols or objects that represent certain objects.
Games, indoor and outdoor should be introduced that can increase feeling of competition in children (Pancella, 2005, p. 56).

Playgrounds For Seniors
Playgrounds are not only meant for children but they are also a good source of exercising for elders. Many countries have incorporated mild exercising machines for elder citizens including Japan where elder citizens are in higher number as compared to children. Thereby inspirations should be gathered from these countries and additions are needed to be made in parks in US (Wellhousen, 2002, p. 67). It has been observed that elder citizens in US are just sitting around in these parks taking care of their children, while these elders are to be given same amount of leisure as exercising equipments. In addition to equipments, elder citizens have better chance of socializing with people of their own ages or younger. It needs to be realized that there is no age to have fun.

In UK, it has been realized this as a need of the elderly thereby several huge investments are being planned for creating playgrounds that can assist elder citizens along with children (Thornley, 2010).
Government grants are important role players in collecting, generating and investing funding on many playgrounds. State of Colorado has invested in many parks in collaboration with Great Outdoors Colorado Local Parks and Outdoor Recreation Grants and Mini-Grant. These grants are meant to make improvements in outdoor recreational areas and parks in communities of Colorado. Similarly efforts have been made by provincial government of British Columbia as grants have been invested in schools to enlace playgrounds facilities by the help of Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. U.S. Department of Education has started granting systems for playgrounds known as Peaceful Playgrounds Physical Education for Progress and these grants are invested in play activities during school and afterschool activities, accounting for 150,000 to 500,000 (Parents Magazine, 2005). These grants are invested to ensure improvements in physical education in children up to 12th grade and these grants will ensure that physical fitness is increased in children in school and afterschool (Cuyler, 2006, p. 56).

Playgrounds or play areas are designed in such a way that they provide space and fresh air along with equipments, which is used by children which can help them learn more while relaxing and enjoying either separately or in groups. Nevertheless, for this, it is necessary that the equipments be used employ safety and are kept under observation of the elders. In addition, these equipment should be safer and free from rust and pointed edges. Moreover, parks include children visitors of three age groups thereby play areas of three age groups should be separated from the others.


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