What if the environment could be transformed in culturally-responsive and inclusive ways to foster high-quality interactions and spark conversations that drive learning? In this article, we describe a new initiative accomplishing this, called Playful Learning Landscapes (PLL). PLL is an evidence-based initiative that blends findings from the science of learning with community-based participatory research to transform physical public spaces and educational settings into playful learning hubs. Here, we describe our model for conducting this research, which is mindful of three key components: community input, how children learn best, and what children need to learn to be successful in the 21st century economy. We describe how this model was implemented in two PLL case studies: one in a predominantly Latine community and the second in early childhood education classrooms. Furthermore, we describe how research employing our model can be rigorously and reliably evaluated using observational and methodological tools that respond to diverse cultural settings and learning outcomes. (author abstract)
Reinventing the public square and early educational settings through culturally informed, community co-design: Playful Learning Landscapes
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