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Jay Beckwith

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Playground Guru

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.

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5 years 2 months ago
While not everything that moves is living, one of the fundamental tenants of science is that...
5 years 2 months ago
There have been many philosophers and researchers who have made play a central subject of their...
5 years 3 months ago
I have always believed that playgrounds are a very poor substitute for children being allowed free-...
5 years 4 months ago
Well, not my whole vacation, just the first 3 weeks. It all started almost a year ago when I...
5 years 5 months ago
The more I learn about the importance of play and its many benefits, the more I wonder why it is...
5 years 5 months ago
2 comments
Few would question the value of sports for kids, yet these days there are increased concerns being...
5 years 6 months ago
1 comment
I have written previously about my contention that playgrounds and the playground industry have...
5 years 7 months ago
2 comments
I was struck by the question that Paige Johnson asked at the recent round-table discussion: Risk-...
5 years 8 months ago
In my last article I introduced the work of Alison Gopnik in The Philosophical Baby. This month I’...
5 years 8 months ago
2 comments
With nearly 50 years of play design experience, Jay Beckwith discusses the necessary elements of...
5 years 9 months ago
Have you ever encountered a book that simultaneously reinforced your long-held beliefs, those you...
5 years 10 months ago
I have a new grandchild and have been able to closely observe her and ask myself what is she...
5 years 11 months ago
1 comment
In my previous post I suggested a new way to evaluate play spaces. Rather than focus on the...
6 years 3 days ago
3 comments
s a designer of play apparatus and spaces I try to insure my projects will be of high value to...
6 years 1 month ago
In a previous article, Play is Not Important, I proposed that we look at play as part of a...

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