Playground as Politics
Allison T. Cohen & Gerad F. O'Shea & Cristina M. Medellin-Paz
Playgrounds represent a variety of things to different people. Many people may hear the word and immediately picture a fenced-in area with slides, monkey-bars, and swings, usually near a school. But while the playground itself has been a fixture of childhood for the last century, the rationale for providing that space and the individuals involved in the design and implementation has been anything but consistent. Considering the shifting influences on everything from actual equipment to funding sources, playgrounds represent the larger political and social agendas of a point in history. There have been times when public opinion, theoretical trends, political action, and the needs of children have been on the same page, while other times they have been at odds. The focus of this entry is to inform readers of the sociopolitical development of the playground through the perspective of developmental psychology. Special attention will be paid to identifying the ...