I think it fair to say that within the broad community of play advocates – play designers, landscape architects, play provision providers, pedagogues – play equipment and surfacing Standards have not been a hot topic of debate or contention. For some they were, and continue to be, a form of assurance as to the ‘safety’ of a product; and, in addition, they may even be taken as a proxy indicator of that quasi-mystical quality: play value.
For others, Standards in their current form are a source of bemusement, if not irritation, seen as impeding the possibility of creating rich and varied play environments.
But what this diverse constituency has in common, is the shared sense that play equipment and surface Standards descend as from on high, are created via processes and people they know not, but whose pronouncements have the force and authority of Holy Writ, to be adhered to, but not questioned.
That was then. Now is now.
‘Now’ is marked by the steady growth, and the coming together, of a diverse constituency of pedagogues, play advocates, academics, designers, individuals from within Standard-making bodies, all seized of the need to examine Standards, how they are formulated, who formulates them, their scope and their practical consequences ‘on the ground’. And this constituency is growing. Continue reading