Summary of Harry Pasternak's Research On The Best 'Playgrounds' in Toronto Which Shows Children Aren't Monkeys Or Stupid
Harry Pasternak was asked to do a study of playgrounds in Metro Toronto by the Province of Ontario. Pasternak designed the project and then hired the eminent scientific research organization, The Ontario Research Council, to collect and analyze the data.
Pasternak asked the Parks and Recreation staff from each borough in Toronto to select the best playgrounds in their borough for the study. One Director stated that all the playgrounds in his borough were useless. The others presented their choices. Pasternak selected 10 playgrounds. The playgrounds vary in choice of apparatus. But every type of swing, slide, bouncy animal, monkey bar, or large wooden ramp-ladder-bridge combo (costing $100,000) was available for study on the 10 playgrounds.
The Ontario Research Council then sent out two trained field workers. The field workers set up a time-lapse camera on high building overlooking each playground. Each playground was then filmed for five days (daylight hours) - with a picture being taken every 10 seconds. While the time-lapse camera collected the data, the two field workers walked the neighborhood and made notes on where kids were playing and what they were doing. As well the field workers investigated the actually playground for safety issues.
The Ontario Research Council then analyzed the 750,000 frames as well as notes and records kept, to see:
a) the number of minutes each playground apparatus on each playground was used per day.
b) the number of children that used the playground apparatus and playground each day.
c) whether children rotated through the playground in a specific pattern.
d) type of play that occurred on the playground beyond using the apparatus.
e) safety and maintenance issues.
f) where the children played if they were not at the playground and what were the non-playground activities.
Thousand Islands Institute - The Independent Centre For Housing Research & Education