Site as Experiential Playground: Artistic Research for a Learning Landscape

By Katie Kingery-Page and Rebecca Melvin.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The contemporary American schoolyard remains an under-utilized opportunity for experiential learning. Contemporary public schoolyards are often designed in response to perceptions of liability and a limited interpretation of child development. This paper examines a design proposal for an un-built, natural learning landscape through two lenses: epistemology and form. First, we propose that designers of school landscapes embrace artistic research as a humanities mode of knowledge. We illustrate an artistic research process using the design of an experiential schoolyard. Second, we present an un-built, primary grade schoolyard design as an exemplar for natural play and learning. Beginning with literature review of research on play and experiential learning, the proposed design layers child development, humanities, and landscape architectural knowledge to form a provisional understanding of how form and space may affect the child’s play experience.

Keywords: Landscape Architecture, Schoolyards, Landscapes of Learning, Artistic Research, Experiential Schoolyard

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.71-89. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.829MB).

Prof. Katie Kingery-Page

Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture/Regional & Community Planning, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

Assistant Professor Kingery-Page is a landscape architect and educator in the Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional & Community Planning at Kansas State University. Kingery-Page’s formal training includes sculpture, art theory, ecology, and landscape architecture in the United States and Brazil. Her built work includes streetscapes, schoolyards, and stormwater meadows. She focuses on art as a mode of knowledge for landscape architects, meaning both humanities research and design as a conceptual art practice.

Rebecca Melvin

Graduate Student, Landscape Architecture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA

Ms. Melvin completed her terminal degree in landscape architecture at Kansas State University in 2012. After graduating, she interned at Raymond Jungles, Inc. in Miami, Florida and is now working at 360 Architecture in Kansas City, Missouri as a landscape designer. Her research interests include land art, concrete poetry, cultural sustainability, public perception of designed space, and productive landscapes.