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Early Findings Indicate Cincinnati PlayScapes Are A Natural Hit With Children


The research is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore how PlayScapes strengthen children’s grasp on science.

Date: 8/15/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

UC ingot   Early findings from a $330,124 grant from the National Science Foundation indicate that Cincinnati children are building on a number of valuable skills through their experiences in designed, natural playgrounds known as PlayScapes.
PlayScape



The UC Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center was awarded the NSF grant – to be funded over two years – to support researchers as they observe young children exploring the Marge & Charles Schott Nature PlayScape at Cincinnati Nature Center that opened last August, as well as the newly completed PlayScape on UC’s Uptown campus.

Research first got underway at Cincinnati Nature Center last March and will eventually focus on 200 children aged three to five.

Victoria Carr, a UC associate professor of education and director of the UC Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center, says early findings from Cincinnati educators suggest that PlayScapes capture the attention and creativity of children longer than the traditional classroom or urban playground. Carr says early findings also indicate that children who were not considered leaders in the classroom were building on leadership abilities as they interacted with other children in the PlayScape.

“As we had anticipated, our early reports from teachers suggest that children take risks during this outdoor play and are proud of their accomplishments. Furthermore, language skills are blossoming for children who are English language learners,” says Carr.

Research team members on the NSF-funded project include:

  • Rhonda Brown, UC associate professor, early childhood education
  • Heidi Kloos, UC associate professor of psychology and director of the UC Children’s Cognitive Research Lab
  • Eleanor Luken, a UC research associate for the Arlitt Center
  • Catherine Maltbie, a UC research associate for the Evaluation Services Center, UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH)
  • Kathlyn Steedly, a UC research associate for the Evaluation Services Center
  • Nicole Hammons, a UC graduate student in educational studies
  • Alan Wight, a UC graduate student in educational studies
  • Gabe Gales, a UC graduate student in educational studies
  • Mona Jenkins, a UC sophomore in early childhood education