Research ProblemAt the University of British Columbia Child Care Services complex, I will compare two outdoor play yards. Yard A was built and designed several years ago by a landscape architecture student whose children attended the day care. Yard B was recently built after renovations to the day care room. Yard A represents a traditional type of playground space with its open patch of grass and scattered play equipment. Yard B is densely planted, has defined circulation paths, and is spatially complex. A single group of children will be observed playing within both spaces. The comparison of the play experiences will help to reveal what attributes of the two yards best support the child s development. Parents and early childhood educators will contribute their perceptions and observations. During the interviews, I will aim to discover what elements we perceive as being beneficial to the child. I will use the beneficial attributes of the yards to generate a series of design interventions. The interventions will be implemented in Yard B. Through the implementation process, I aim to discover how and if the attributes from one yard can be designed into another while maintaining the same developmental benefits. ContextThe day care complex is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia on the West Coast of British Columbia. The children who attend the facility ranged in ages from 6 months to five years. The study yards are intended for toddlers (children aged 12 to 24 months). The families are either students or professors at the university.Theoretical Framework/Relevant LiteratureI will be using literature and theories that discuss the design attributes of quality outdoor play spaces for young children. Susan Herrington s work in creating interventions for children_s outdoor play spaces provides an example of successful applications of this type of work. Dudek, Mark. Building for Young Children. London, England: The National Early Years Network, 2001.Herrington, Susan. The received view of play and the subculture of infants. Landscape Journal: Design, Planning, and Management of the Land. 16 (2). 149-161 1997.Herrington, Susan and Kenneth Mark Studtmann. 1998. From yard to garden: new directions in the design of children’s outdoor play environments. Landscape and Urban Planning. 42: 191-205.Moore, Robin C.; Goltsman, Susan M.; Iacofano, Daniel S.. Play for All Guidelines: Planning, Designing, and Management of Outdoor Play Settings for All Children. 2nd ed. Berkley, CA: MIG Communications, 1992.Shaw G., Leland. Designing Playgrounds for Able and Disabled Children, Spaces for Children: The Built Environment and Child Development. Weinstein, C.S and Thomas, G.D(eds.), New York: Plenum, 1987.Research Questions How does the same group of children play in a contrasting outdoor environment?What do families and early childhood educators perceive as being a quality outdoor space for young children? What does a toddler's rich outdoor play experience look like?What developmental opportunities are there in the toddler_s outdoor yard?How do the children's play experiences differ before and after the interventions?How can a designer translate the attributes of one environment into an adjacent location? Can we translate attributes from these yards to other neighbourhoods and contexts in Vancouver?Research MethodologyIn order to understand the children’s relationship to the environment, I will use video, interviews, and a written play narrative. Through video, qualitative examples of children s play experiences will be documented. The videotaping will occur a total of eight times in thirty-minute sessions. The children who are enrolled in the traditional play yard will be documented. The children will be taped four times in their yard, Yard B, and four times in the other yard, Yard A. They will be taped twice on sunny warm days and twice on cold rainy days in each yard. While the children are being taped, a second observer will scribe play narratives. There will also be a series of interviews with staff and families. The interviews with staff will help gain further insight into how the spaces are used by children, and what attributes of the play spaces are developmentally valuable. State of Development Yard A has been observed and documented through the use of a field observation form that Susan Herrington and I have developed for another research project, The CHILD Project. The form is meant as a tool to record and understand the physical conditions of the space, functional and relational spaces, and community context. Avenues for Research Findings and ApplicationsMy thesis project will be a part of a five-year, interdisciplinary university-community partnership endeavour called CHILD (Consortium for Health, Intervention, Learning and Development) in Vancouver, Canada. The aim of CHILD is to improve evidence-based policy development, encourage more effective advocacy work, and ultimately, better conditions for healthy child development in the Province of British Columbia. My work will contribute to the CHILD Project s body of research. It will also be used to apply design interventions to a series of day care centres in different neighbourhoods of Vancouver.