Jay Beckwith

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Confessions of a Playground Guru

Called by many as one of the “fathers of the modern playground,” Jay began designing unique play environments in 1970. As new materials came into use early in the 1980s, he designed one of the earliest “post and deck” play structures, which quickly became a trend that he later decried as resulting in more and more playgrounds looking alike. Jay has written several books on designing and building children’s play equipment. He has also been involved with safety commissions, became a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and has written publications and developed programs for playground safety. He has consulted with several playground manufacturers in their design processes and pushed towards new directions in play environments, such as climbing boulders and ropes. Jay has been a Fellow of the Association for the Study of Play for over twenty years, and his insightful observations of children at play have influenced his views of the needed changes for the future.