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6: professor playground


  • 6.1: 0.0 Special Symbols
    Some symbols
  • 6.2: The Derivative as a Function
  • 6.3: Differentiation Rules
  • 6.4: Product and Quotient Rules
  • 6.5: Derivatives of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
    In this section, we explore derivatives of exponential and logarithmic functions. As we discussed in Introduction to Functions and Graphs, exponential functions play an important role in modeling population growth and the decay of radioactive materials. Logarithmic functions can help rescale large quantities and are particularly helpful for rewriting complicated expressions.
  • 6.6: Limits at Infinity and Asymptotes
    We have shown how to use the first and second derivatives of a function to describe the shape of a graph. To graph a function f defined on an unbounded domain, we also need to know the behavior of f as x→±∞ . In this section, we define limits at infinity and show how these limits affect the graph of a function. At the end of this section, we outline a strategy for graphing an arbitrary function ff.
  • 6.7: originalThe Definite Integral
    If f(x) is a function defined on an interval [a,b], the definite integral of f from a to b is given by [∫^b_af(x)dx=lim_{n→∞} sum_{i=1}^nf(x^∗_i)Δx,] provided the limit exists. If this limit exists, the function f(x) is said to be integrable on [a,b], or is an integrable function. The numbers a and b are called the limits of integration; specifically, a is the lower limit and b is the upper limit. The function f(x) is the integrand, and x is the variable of integration.
  • 6.8: original The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
    The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus gave us a method to evaluate integrals without using Riemann sums. The drawback of this method, though, is that we must be able to find an antiderivative, and this is not always easy.
  • 6.9: Original Integration Formulas and the Net Change Theorem
    The net change theorem states that when a quantity changes, the final value equals the initial value plus the integral of the rate of change. Net change can be a positive number, a negative number, or zero. The area under an even function over a symmetric interval can be calculated by doubling the area over the positive x-axis. For an odd function, the integral over a symmetric interval equals zero, because half the area is negative.
  • 6.E: Applications of Derivatives (ALL Chap 4 Exercises)
    These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 4 of OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
  • 6.E: Derivatives (ALL Chapter 3 Exercises)
    These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 3 of OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
  • 6.E: Integration (Exercises)
    These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 5 of OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
  • 6.E: Limits (Exercises)
    These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 2 of OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
  • 6.E: Open Stax 4.1 - 4.5 Exercises
    These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 4 of OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
  • 6.10: Geogebra Calculus

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UC professor’s research results in community playground with something for everyone

By Matt Koesters
513-556-5279
Photos by Lisa Britton/UC Creative Services

In a corner of a new playground, children use plastic mallets to strike xylophone keys and large chimes — creating vibrations at frequencies that can be not only heard, but felt. Nearby, a wheelchair-accessible maze made of textured, colorful panels that filter sunlight to project rainbow patterns provides visual and tactile stimulation.

And those who make their way to the exit find themselves at the foot of an artificial hillside. At the playground in the Cincinnati suburb of Green Township’s West Fork Park, the climb up the side of the fieldturf-covered hill is steep. But like the maze, the musical instruments and tiny houses for children as young as six months, this hill is designed to provide an even playing field for children of all ages and abilities. Metal slides affixed to the hillside give children with cochlear implants the chance to experience sliding without the static interference they hear on plastic slides, while crawling tubes that tunnel through the underside provide a safe place for children with autism to regroup when they become overstimulated.

University of Cincinnati professor Tina Stanton-Chapman and Eric Schmidt of Playground Equipment Services spent five years observing children at play and surveying educators, community leaders and caregivers of children with disabilities to find out what was and wasn’t working at local playgrounds.

Eric Schmidt with Playground Equipment Services and UC Professor Tina Stanton-Chapman spent five years researching playgrounds. They used their findings to create a new playground design for Green Township's West Fork Park that includes features for children of all ages and abilities.

“Based on the results of these studies, we learned that caregivers and special education professionals were generally unhappy with playgrounds currently available in their communities,” says Stanton-Chapman. “Specifically, they believed that currently available playground equipment caters to children with physical disabilities and excludes children who have sensory disabilities.” Professionals noted that, while some equipment functions well for children with or without disabilities, none served both populations. From their observations, they learned that the little sensory equipment available to children was not used often.

The West Fork Park playground was designed with those observations and survey responses in mind. The playground conceived by Stanton-Chapman and Schmidt follows the principles of “universal design,” which encourage the creation of products and environments that meet the needs of children with a wide variety of abilities. “The playground is designed for children ages 6 months to 12 years,” says Schmidt. “If a family with an infant remained in Green Township for 12 to 13 years, this playground could be useful to them for the entire time. In other words, the child grows with the playground.” Consideration given to accessibility wasn’t limited to the children who would use the playground. Parents and grandparents whose disabilities limit their mobility won’t have any trouble staying close to where their children and grandchildren are playing, says Schmidt.

Typically, all of the equipment in a given playground is purchased from a single vendor. But that’s not the case for this new playground, which used equipment from several vendors. Some of the choices Stanton-Chapman and Schmidt made were unconventional the panels used to create the maze came from a manufacturer that had no prior experience working on playgrounds. Others were entirely unique, such as the zip line ride purchased from a Swedish company. Stanton-Chapman believes it’s the first of its kind in North America. “It has the potential to change the playground industry” if their research proves it is the most appropriate path, she says.

Green Township officials looked on with pride as children streamed into the playground after the grand opening ceremony concluded with the cutting of a white ribbon. “To see the excitement of hundreds of children made today that much more special,” said Triffon Callos, chairman of the board of township trustees. “This will be a premier destination in the area and is such a huge asset to our community. [The] team did such an amazing job with this project. I believe this playground will be viewed as a model across the region moving forward.”

Stanton-Chapman is eager to see how Green Township’s children take to the new playground. “We will begin researching this playground to see what is working and what is not working,” she says. “We hope to build similar playgrounds at other locations and will certainly improve upon this design.”

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Junkyard or playground paradise? Kids making their own adventures

NEW YORK With a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other, 7-year-old Zayne Cowie was hard at work building a home. He had already gathered planks of splintered wood, an old tire for the entrance and a tattered blue tarp for the roof. No parents were there to stop him as he started hammering away.

He wasn&rsquot a homeless orphan, however, nor was he a victim of parental neglect. He was just one of dozens of kids running around New York City&rsquos first adventure playground in decades.

This is a typical scene at play:groundNYC, located on Governors Island, where children are given a free space to play without any management, mediation or overprotection from parents. The nonprofit includes &ldquoplayworkers,&rdquo the staff at an adventure playground that act like lifeguards, watching for dangerous hazards without interfering with activity.

&ldquoAn adventure playground is a space that&rsquos by and for children foremost,&rdquo said Eve Mosher, Zayne&rsquos mother and a co-founder of play:groundNYC. &ldquoIt&rsquos about letting the kids walk really high up on the structure that they&rsquove built. . It&rsquos about creating space where they can take risks and experiment. In our specific case, it&rsquos kind of like a junkyard for kids.&rdquo

Zayne Cowie, 7, at play:groundNYC on New York City&rsquos Governors Island. CBS News/Anisha Nandi

Play is an important part of childhood development, both physical and psychological, researchers say.

&ldquoSo much that&rsquos positive in terms of intellectual development, social development, emotional development, physical development is best understood when understanding play,&rdquo said Roger Hart, professor of environmental psychology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Hart&rsquos work focuses on child development and the quality of their physical environment. &ldquoPlay is a great indicator of health. &hellip It&rsquos where children create their world and learn to know themselves.&rdquo

Sergio Pellis, professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, has studied the effects of play in rats, finding that &ldquoif young rats are prevented from engaging with peers in social play, then when they get to young adulthood they show a variety of deficits in things like problems with impulse control, they are overactive to benign social stimuli, they have difficulty solving problems and encountering potentially dangerous situations.&rdquo

His research links those issues to changes in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which can affect a wide-range of executive functions later in life, including attention span, emotional regulation and short-term memory.

Destructive and constructive play is a critical part in developing crucial motor and mental skills, Hart said. However, conventional playgrounds contain &ldquofixed equipment&rdquo which leaves little to be built, created or destroyed by children.

Hart said conventional playgrounds are &ldquouseful, especially for very young kids, for gross motor play, as we call it, large muscle play. But, when it comes to children using the environment richly, they need to manipulate it, move things around, control it and feel that they&rsquore directing their activity.&rdquo

This idea of self-directed, unmediated play is embodied in the idea of &ldquoadventure playgrounds,&rdquo or &ldquojunk playgrounds.&rdquo Unlike traditional playgrounds, these spaces leave kids with ample freedom, and the responsibility that comes with it.

Children play at play:groundNYC on New York City&rsquos Governors Island. CBS News/Anisha Nandi

In the process of building his structure, Zayne decided it was no regular home -- it was a castle. He began gathering tires for turrets and scrap wood for beams. As he jumped onto his new fortress, he lost his footing and fell to the dirt. He let out a cry, checked himself for cuts and stared up at the stronghold. A few minutes later, Zayne dusted himself off and climbed again, four or five feet in the air, and balanced carefully along the beams.

&ldquoThey were able to try things out without huge consequences and self-directed play in particular hones skills and self-awareness,&rdquo said Alex Khost, an alternative educator and co-founder of playground:NYC.

Some parents, especially in cities, have looked for ways to give their children the opportunity for more self-directed play, a reaction against what some see as an increase in over-parenting.

&ldquoChildren are often over-directed and taken from one activity to another and expected to be good at it, but at a place like this, they can let their imagination run free,&rdquo said Michael Haggiag, a NYC parent in support of playground:NYC. &ldquoI think it&rsquos very important for children to have this time to confront whatever it is &hellip to develop their imagination, to develop their sense of play without too much direction. I think that&rsquos the source of all creativity.&rdquo

Parents are urged to &ldquosit back and relax&rdquo at play:groundNYC on New York City&rsquos Governors Island. CBS News/Anisha Nandi

As their children use saws, nails, hammers, drills and other tools to build and destroy the contents of the playground, parents are relegated to the other side of a fence with signs that encourage them to &ldquosit back and relax.&rdquo

&ldquoInitially, it does give you pause because it&rsquos so rare that you let your kids go in an area where there&rsquos sharp objects and wood stuff, but to see that they kind of police themselves in a way was reassuring,&rdquo said parent Tom Widmann during his first trip to playground:NYC. &ldquoOf all the kids that I&rsquove seen today, there doesn&rsquot seem to be any incidents.&rdquo

Despite safety concerns, &ldquoin every study that I&rsquove found that has been done, adventure playgrounds have much lower levels of serious injury than your sort of traditional playgrounds,&rdquo said Reilly Wilson, graduate student for the Children&rsquos Environments Research Group, focusing on adventure playgrounds. &ldquoPart of it is that regular playgrounds, as it were, are designed for safety and young people know that. So when young people play on a regular playground they often pay less attention to risks.&rdquo

Adventure or junk playgrounds were popularized in post-World War II Europe, where bombed-out ruins lingered for years. In the U.S., dozens were operating during the 1970s, though they&rsquove declined in popularity since.

Wilson and Hart said their decline in the U.S. was due to a number of factors, such as rising safety concerns, higher engagement with technology and a lack of funding. (In the adventure playground model, materials are low-cost but the playworkers are paid staff.)

Children play at play:groundNYC on New York City&rsquos Governors Island. CBS News/Anisha Nandi

Khost and Mosher were determined to bring one to NYC for the first time in decades. After months of searching for a site, they were offered a space by Governors Island, which they quickly accepted, and began building a world of creative junk. They filled the space with &ldquoloose parts&rdquo - acquired through donations, from their own homes or off the curb - that children could manipulate. They hired and trained playworkers to watch over the environment and implemented a strict &ldquono parent&rdquo rule.

Playworkers are a critical part of any adventure playground. Their role is not only to provide a watchful yet unintrusive eye but also play a unique role in a child&rsquos life. &ldquoThey&rsquore no longer an instructor, they&rsquore somebody who seems to respect you as an equal, as a citizen and so the kids start to talk with these people. That is really wonderful. &hellip It&rsquos an organic type of social work,&rdquo said Hart.

As Janea Singleton, a playworker at play:groundNYC, helped Zayne clamp in a piece of wood, he grabbed a hand saw and they chatted about lunch and the day ahead. Earlier, she helped a group of children learn how to use a hacksaw, calmly answering questions, grabbing tools from the toolshed and encouraging kids to make use of anything around them. Singleton said the hardest part of being a playworker is learning not to say &ldquono,&rdquo but instead &ldquostepping back and letting them surprise you.&rdquo

Play:groundNYC opened its permanent site on Governors Island this summer and soon found it attracting 80 to 100 children a weekend. The suggested age to play on the main junk playground is 6 years and older kids 3 years and up can head to the &ldquofamily&rdquo playground, where parents are allowed on the grounds. Parents must sign a liability waiver and the site is insured. The space is free to the public on weekends as weather permits and the summer camp was filled to capacity. With nearly half a year down, the creators are now looking for creative ways to keep children engaged in the short term while still thinking about longer term goals.

&ldquoOur dream is that it goes out and we can be a model for other people to start adventure playgrounds in their communities and it&rsquos a place where kids can go there after school and play,&rdquo Mosher said. &ldquoThat&rsquos the dream.&rdquo


Questions of place in a time of uncertainty

Having just launched in late January of this year, ASU’s Center for Imagination in the Borderlands was still in its infancy when the world came to a screeching halt as a result of the coronavirus.

But as fortune would have it, a constellation of forces, presciently suited to take on the strange new challenges we have already begun to face — which had been quietly simmering for nearly a year — were finally on the verge of fruition.

On June 26, in partnership with the prestigious Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School in New York City, the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands announced the recipients of the inaugural Borderlands Fellowship: artists Maria Hupfield and Carolina Caycedo.

“I feel like this fellowship was prophetic in a way, because the conversations they’ll be having and the ideas they’ll be raising and catalyzing and creating, I think, are going to be very important to the ways we all move forward together in what is assuredly going to be a new country,” said Natalie Diaz, director of the Center for Imagination in the Bordelands. “There will be certain things that don’t revert back to the way they were before. So it’s exciting for ASU and these fellows to be contributing to those conversations.”

The goal of the Borderlands Fellowship is an extension of the ASU center's values in that it seeks to bring people together for imaginative dialogue with one another and the ASU and New School communities around the relevance of place through the lens of Indigeneity.

Hupfield and Caycedo were selected from a pool of invited applicants that included internationally renowned artists and scholars who were nominated by a small group of experts, including Diaz, a widely lauded poet and a MacArthur Fellow. They will receive an award of $15,000 to support their two-year appointment, beginning in fall 2020 and running through spring 2022. Over the course of four semesters, they will spend time together and independently in Tempe, Arizona, and New York City, where they will create and present a research project at both sites that ignites conversation within, across and about America’s borderlands.

Recipients of the inaugural Borderlands Fellowship, Carolina Caycedo (left) and Maria Hupfield. Photo courtesy of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics

A nonprofit research organization and public forum for art, culture and politics founded in 1992, the Vera List Center is the only university-based institution committed exclusively to leading public research at this intersection. In the past, its fellowships have supported the work of such luminaries as the late Maurice Berger, a cultural historian who used his privilege to speak out against racism in the art world Lorraine O’Grady, a conceptual artist known for her exploration of Black female identity, particularly through photo and video and Bouchra Khalili, whose “The Mapping Journey Project” recounted the indomitable spirit that led refugees to cross oceans and borders in search of a better life.

The brainchild of Diaz, a woman with many identities rooted in place — associate professor in the Department of English at ASU’s Tempe campus, member of the Mojave and Akimel O’odham tribes, Mexican, Latina — the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands was created with the mission to spark inquiry, action and the reimagining of America’s borderlands.

The center feted its opening in January with a ceremony that included performances by fellow ASU Assistant Professor Solmaz Sharif, whose debut book of poetry, “Look,” subverts the U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms to illuminate the killing of innocent civilians in the Iran-Iraq War White Mountain Apache musician and National Artists Fellow Laura Ortman and President and CEO of United States Artists Deana Haggag.

The Borderlands Fellowship combines the resources of these two institutions, esteemed for their innovative research endeavors that aim to unite communities across different geographical, cultural and political landscapes.

“We began to wonder what it would look like if instead of pretending that because we’re on two separate sides of the country we’re having totally different conversations, we actually acknowledged that we are asking a lot of same questions, just in different ways,” Diaz said. “We wanted to allow these thinkers and artists the ability and support to migrate their questions.”

Both Hupfield and Caycedo are multidisciplinary artists working in performance and media arts. Hupfield’s project “Breaking Protocol” will look at urban Indigenous peoples as experts at navigating borders and blurring binaries. Caycedo’s project “Fair Energy Transition” will look at the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as an extension of the prison complex, oil, gas and water industries, considering its effects on the environment and those living near it.

As part of their two-year appointments, they will each consult and collaborate with faculty at ASU and The New School, and they will spend time engaging with students and the local communities in workshops and discussions. It’s the part of the fellowship that thrills Diaz most.

“In the art world, and even in the world of scholarship, we tend to be so focused on what we produce. And the work that both of them create is phenomenal, and I think merits attention and engagement on its own — they’re doing work in Indigenous communities, they’re challenging questions of language, questions of land and environment and sovereignty, and they’re each engaged in very different aspects of what is a border,” Diaz said.

“And yet, both also have an incredibly generous and rigorous practice of community engagement, of being invested in dialogue and asking questions that might not have immediate answers. Questions about being in the borderlands, questions about racial justice. … Part of our value system at ASU is that we’re preparing our students to ask these kinds of difficult questions that will actually change society for the better. So in bringing in these incredible artists and thinkers, we’re helping our students build that lexicon.”

Top photo: (From left) ASU Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands Natalie Diaz Tohono O’odham Nation Poet and MacArthur Fellow Ofelia Zepeda President and CEO of United States Artists Deana Haggag and MacArthur Fellow and author of “Lost Children Archive” Valeria Luiselli at the launch of ASU's Center for Imagination in the Borderlands on Jan. 23, 2020. Photo by Meg Potter/ASU Now


Christian Bettstetter

Austria establishes a test field for 5G mobile systems. It can be used by companies and research institutes to advance their prototypes and products. The concept was presented in a press conference at the ministry for transport, innovation, and technology this week.

T he fifth generation of mobile telecommunications (5G) is the successor to LTE. It will support a very broad spectrum of applications: End users can enjoy enhanced mobile broadband with more than ten times the data rates of LTE. It is, however, the communication between machines rather than humans that lies at the core of 5G. It will enable the connectivity and reliable control of cars, minidrones, and robots, to give some examples. 5G also intends to be the technology of choice for the Internet of Things, connecting millions of small devices in an energy-efficient manner.

The worldwide standardization of 5G is expected to be finished in the year 2019. Prototypes of mobiles already exist today but are in the size of a suitcase. It is expected that manufacturers will provide network equipment and handhelds by 2020. First networks will go online soon after.

From a technical point of view, 5G will employ antennas with hundreds of antenna elements to exploit massive MIMO for improved capacity as well as new carrier frequencies including millimeter wave communications. More and more network functionalities will be implemented in software rather than hardware, using software-defined networking and network function virtualization. A low latency of about one millisecond will be offered as an important requirement for realtime applications.

Austria now gears up to become a hub for this new technology. The country’s first test region, the 𔄝G playground Carinthia,” will be established soon. It will cover selected industrial areas in Austria’s southernmost province, including the Lakeside Science & Technology Park in Klagenfurt adjacent to the university campus. Companies, startups, and research organizations can get access to the playground in order to test and develop their prototypes, products, and applications in a 5G setting. Austria’s ministry for transport, innovation, and technology and the government of Carinthia are providing 1.6 million Euros, as presented to the public in a press conference in Vienna this week. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) will further promote research on 5G applications with five million Euro in the coming years.

Austria gears up to become a 5G hub, establishes a 5G playground.

Infrastructure minister Jörg Leichtfried, Gaby Schaunig, vice governor of Carinthia, and professor Christian Bettstetter from the University of Klagenfurt explained the purpose of the 5G playground, benefits for the region, and specific project ideas. “I want Austria to be recognized as a pioneer for the new mobile radio standard 5G in Europe, which is why we launch the first 5G test region today: Carinthia will be a great playground for local companies to test the new technology in practice, for example, in self-driving cars, intelligent rescue drones, or networked robots. This will strengthen the location and bring well-paid jobs to Austria,” says Leichtfried. Schaunig adds: “The 5G test region underlines Carinthia’s standing for being an innovative location and enables the early development of products and technologies.” It will provide a competitive advantage to the region.

The University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs plan to use the 5G playground to advance their research in networked multidrone systems. They currently focus on three application domains: disaster management, agriculture and forestry, and delivery of urgent goods. “To communicate with drones, WLAN or LTE often do not fulfill the application-specific requirements,” says Bettstetter and adds: 𔄝G has great potential to make certain drone applications much more reliable.” The 5G playground nicely complements existing ICT research projects in Klagenfurt, such as the newly established Karl Popper Science Kolleg on networked autonomous aerial vehicles. “Bettstetter with his Lakeside Labs will play an important role,” Adolf Winkler comments in the regional newspaper Kleine Zeitung. The national newspaper Der Standard, the tech news portal Futurezone, and Austrian television reported as well.

Update from October 8, 2019: The 5G Playground Carinthia opened at the Lakeside Science & Technology Park in Klagenfurt. It is being operated by BABEG in cooperation with A1 with financial support by the state of Carinthia and the Republic of Austria (see APA press release).


CWU students set to improve Kittitas Elementary Playground

Under the supervision of James Avery, associate professor of management, students are pursuing philanthropic opportunities with the intention of bettering their communities by improving the Kittitas Elementary playground.

Kyle Young, a senior studying Business Administration– graduating this spring– along with his classmates Shianne McFee, Brennan Gillner and Harrison Giles, have pooled their efforts into this project.

“Using GoFundMe mainly as a primary source, [we] raised right under $600,” Young said. “We were aiming for around $2000, but what we got we can give them some small improvements.”

These improvements include 6-pack sets of basketballs, footballs and soccer balls, four tether-ball sets, paint for touching up playground lines and four new nets for basketball hoops. Further improvements include filling in pot-holes and clipping trees and shrubs that have found their way onto the playground.

“We’re excited with what we’re doing,” Young said.

However, Young said although the class helped give a sense of “improving the community,” the class is not without faults. Three months is too little time to make a substantial change and get adequate funding according to Young.

Young said the program might improve if they just “make it a year long.”

Young’s playground-project is not the only one coming out of the Leadership Management Capstone Class. One group worked with Friends In Service to Humanity (FISH) to plant vegetables, another group worked along the Yakima planting trees, and another raised money for foster-kids in Vietnam while also building a website and becoming pen-pals with the children.

For those interested, a marketing video detailing all the students’ exploits will be released within a few weeks.

Nonprofits and organizations that believe they may benefit from CWU student assistance are encouraged to reach out to Avery.



  • Available in various color schemes
  • Can be expanded with crawl tubes, hand-over-hand bars, and towers



No Parents Allowed: Kids Explore, Take Risks at Junkyard Playgrounds

Adventure playgrounds offer kids space to build resilience, self-confidence and courage.

By Carl Frisell Categories

We have witnessed a seismic shift over the past few generations — a gradual but dramatic decline in children’s free-play opportunities and an increase in childhood mental and emotional disorders. Play is the crucial childhood goal — it’s how kids develop a sense of self, learn how to make their own decisions, solve problems, regulate emotions, exert control, follow rules, make friends and experience joy (Gray, 2011). Parents who create supportive environments for open-ended, self-directed, creative play also provide opportunities for their kids to gain a sense of mastery and competence in their experiences. That self-efficacy sets the stage for a lifetime of higher self-esteem (Harter, 1988, Coopersmith, 1967) and other health benefits. No pressure.

Developmental psychologist Peter Gray notes the importance of fostering resilience through free-play: “Children are designed by nature to teach themselves emotional resilience by playing in risky, emotion-inducing ways. We deprive children of free, risky play, ostensibly to protect them from danger. In the long run, we endanger them far more by preventing such play than by allowing it. And, we deprive them of fun.”

Adventure playgrounds

In 1931, a Danish landscape architect, Carl Theodor Sørensen, noticed that kids were playing everywhere other than the playgrounds he had designed for them, including construction sites. He proposed the idea to build deliberate “junk playgrounds,” particularly for city kids who have less access to natural outdoor play. His vision came to fruition with the first site in 1943 at Emdrup, Denmark. This playground grew out of the need for a safe place where kids could play freely without inciting the German occupying forces. These dedicated “junkyards,” as they were originally called, were stocked with “loose parts” of discarded wood, containers, fabric, and even old train engines, lifeboats and discarded buses. These elements provided a variety of stimulation to be manipulated, destroyed and rebuilt into new inventions. These junk playgrounds began to spread through Denmark, Europe and North America, taking expansive root in the UK.

Lady Marjory Allen of Hurtwood, a British landscape architect and children’s advocate, had been dismayed by “asphalt square” playgrounds with adult-manufactured rigid mechanical equipment that didn’t allow kids to act on their environment or fully express creative ideas. Many adults at the time also noticed that kids enjoyed playing in the rubble of bombed out buildings after World War II. After seeing the Danish junk playgrounds in 1946, Lady Allen set out to design similar sites with as little adult supervision as possible, and the term “adventure playground” was born.

The idea was that kids should confront risks and then conquer them alone, building resilience, self-confidence and courage. Well-trained adult “playworkers” were provided for supervision and would help when asked or needed, particularly in dealing with tools. However, they did not teach, direct, impose or interfere with creative expression. Today, playwork is a respected and well-paid profession in Europe and Japan. In Europe, it is so highly valued that one can get an undergraduate degree in playwork.

The first U.S. adventure playground, called “The Yard,” opened in 1949 in Minneapolis. The next known site was in New York City in the early 1970s and only lasted a few years. By the late ’70s there were 19 around the country, but they began to disappear due to the lack of public funding, contrary to the belief that their demise was due to Americans’ litigious nature and protective parenting (Bergin Wilson, 2017). There are currently five adventure playgrounds around the country. They have recently been making a comeback and are, once again, becoming quite active in New York City.

Play:groundNYC

Three years ago, a group of artists, educators, parents and activists were dismayed at the lack of free, self-directed play in New York City. They came together to create a series of one-day pop-up play days in the park, which have since evolved into play:groundNYC, one of the newest adventure playgrounds in the U.S. It is situated on Governors Island, a thriving public park five minutes from Manhattan by ferryboat. The site was designed to provide kids (6+) with space and materials for self-directed play, discovery and productive risk-taking. The large variety of materials and tools provided include nails, hammers and saws, paint, tires, wood and fabrics.

“play:groundNYC is 50,000 square feet of magic,” says executive director Rebecca Faulkner. “This is a place where children can choose their own adventures, build their own structures and dream big!” Faulkner’s dad played in the ruins of bombed out buildings in East London after the Blitz. “It’s in my family’s DNA,” she said.

Their website has a message for parents: “Expect your child to get messy! Our junkyard play area is for kids only.” Adults can watch from a lovely patch of grassy shade across the way, but are asked to let the kids play on their own, as playworkers help their children navigate the difference between a risk and a hazard. Faulkner reminds parents who are leaning on the fence, “Your children are having a great time the grass is right over there you can keep an eye on them from there.”

“It’s really hard for parents to let their kids just be,” says Jenea Singleton, the lead weekend playworker, “but if the parents are around, the kids are really cautious and they’ll think more about the reaction they’re going to get instead of what they’re actually doing. Sometimes they actually panic and second-guess themselves.” To her point, children can gain a sense of “learned helplessness” when they believe they lack the ability to handle things on their own — they feel frustrated and give up easily (Dweck, 1978).

Andrew Coats, a dad who brought his two girls four times last summer, was back for more after his daughters begged to return every day the next summer: “They absolutely love it,” Coats said. “As a parent, I am cautious and nervous that they’re going to do something to themselves, but it’s not any different than what I did (as a kid) in a less controlled environment.”

Kristin Gorman, a mom who was visiting for the first time said, “I appreciate that they’re letting the kids roam free and figure things out for themselves. I’m not going to tell you that I don’t have any hesitation right now, because I am a little bit nervous, but I’m letting go, letting him explore and letting him enjoy himself.”

Ellen Sandseter, a professor in early childhood education, observed in her adventure playground study that “Children have a sensory need to taste danger and excitement this doesn’t mean that what they do has to actually be dangerous, only that they feel they are taking a great risk. That scares them, but then they overcome the fear. Children are highly motivated to play in risky ways, but they are also very good at knowing their own capacities and avoiding risks they are not ready to take, either physically or emotionally. Our children know far better than we do what they are ready for.”

A field trip to the junkyard at play:groundNYC

A growing movement

Because Governor’s Island is a destination, play:groundNYC is planning to bring this experience into communities across New York City, mainly through mobile trucks. This way they can be more accessible on a consistent basis and let kids take ownership over their creations. Another major goal, currently in the works, is to make the playground more fully accessible for children with disabilities.

The Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit organization devoted to restoring play to children’s lives, hopes to eventually see an adventure playground in every community across the U.S. Parks, zoos, children’s museums, after-school programs and camps are increasingly interested in playwork, and Pop-Up Adventure Play offers free resources to help parents, educators and communities create local opportunities. Ideally, parents will create mini-junkyards or free-play opportunities in their living rooms, backyards or broom closets … and then step out of the way and let them play.

Marj Kleinman is a Brooklyn based photographer and children’s media producer with a master’s in educational psychology. All photos by Marj Kleinman.


College ofArts & Sciences

The Texas Tech University College of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1925 as one of the university's four original colleges.

Comprised of 16 departments and more than 400 tenured faculty members, the College offers a wide variety of courses and programs in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics and natural sciences. Students can choose from 41 bachelor's degree programs, 34 master's degrees and 14 doctoral programs.

With just under 11,000 students enrolled, the College of Arts & Sciences is the largest college on the Texas Tech University campus.

In fall 2016, the college embarked upon its first capital campaign, Unmasking Innovation: The Campaign for Arts & Sciences. It focuses on five critical areas of need: attracting and retaining top faculty, enhancing infrastructure, recruiting high-potential students, undergraduate research and growing the Dean's Fund for Excellence.