Theses Doctoral

Moving through playground spaces: Exploring the sensory, material, and embodied experiences of 2-year-olds in playground spaces

Fellner, Amanda Reeves

Children playing on playgrounds is a common sight, one most people have witnessed and participated in. While playground spaces are scattered throughout the United States as places for children to explore, they often reflect adult notions of childhood and come in standardized forms, which often neglect the interests of children. Situated at the nexus of critical childhoods and spatial theories, this study argues that children’s playground spaces are valuable sites of study, as are the experiences of children utilizing them. While easy to ignore the desires of very young children, or brush them off as unimportant or uninformed, this study emphasizes the value of seeing, hearing, and prioritizing the experiences of two-year old’s as they navigate playground spaces. Utilizing researcher and child-driven methods, children’s verbal and nonverbal modes of communication were valued and reflected in the findings. Children’s movements through playground spaces were reflective of their sensory and embodied ways of being, as well as their connection with the material world. This work proposes that more attention be paid to children’s actual lived experiences in playground spaces and that this be considered when designing and constructing these spaces.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Yoon, Haeny S.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 29, 2020