Environments for Outdoor Play: A Practical Guide to Making Space for Children


Theresa Casey

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • About the Author

    Theresa Casey began her career as a playworker in an adventure playground in Edinburgh supporting the play needs of children of a wide range of ages, abilities and backgrounds but with a particular focus on children with disabilities. Three years in Thailand followed, developing play opportunities for children growing up in difficult circumstances. During that time a playground design developed by Theresa, her colleagues and the children from a Bangkok slum community won an international design award. Since then she has been particularly involved in practitioner-led action research on inclusive play which has resulted in a number of publications and programmes of activity.

    Theresa is a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which allowed her time to study play in Sweden, Finland and the Ukraine. Her work is informed by an international perspective and grounded in the belief that it is the right of every child, no matter their circumstances, to have opportunities for play.


    View Copyright Page


    For Jimmy, and Jamie my brown-eyed boy


    Much of the inspiration for this book came from the wonderful places for play in which I have been privileged to work, especially Scotland Yard Adventure Centre (The Yard) in Edinburgh and the Foundation for Child Development play projects in Bangkok.

    The Play Inclusive (Pinc) Action Research Project, also at The Yard, has given me the opportunity to join in wonderfully questioning and thought-provoking conversations and I am grateful to the talented and committed playworkers there who have welcomed me (and gurgling babies) into their discussions.

    Thanks to friends and colleagues who helped me out with Chapter 5: artists Suzie Hunter, Heather Christie and the multi-talented Mark Carr; Robin Sutcliffe, Dave Brady and Patrick Martin of Sutcliffe Play; and Margaret Westwood of many hats. Thanks to Alan Rees for the help with the case study in Chapter 2 and to David Yearley of RoSPA Play Safety and Kate Lander of the Landscape Institute for help with Chapter 8.

    I have gained lots of ideas and food for thought by visiting play projects in various countries and keeping my eyes open for how children endlessly reinvent play spaces. It's been amazing to see similar play taking shape from diverse ‘ingredients’ around the world. So thanks to all those projects and children from whom I have borrowed ideas. The International Play Association (IPA) World Conference in Berlin in 2005 proved a rich source of debate and ideas that also inform this book.

    Thanks so much to Emma, Sean, Molly, Eoghan, Jessica, Niamh, Martin and Nicky for the fun play day up in the woods, and thanks again to Barbara, Caroline and Veronica Casey and Tricia and Jake Herriot for minding the babies.

  • Bibliography

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