Addams, Jane

Jane Addams black and white headshot
Jane Addams was an early twentieth century reformer for better living conditions for the poor, equality and justice for oppressed populations, and world peace for all. One of the many reforms she championed was the basic human need for play.

Ahern, Tim

Tim Ahern BCI Burke
Tim Ahern owned and led BCI Burke Company, a playground manufacturing company that has been in the business of creating playgrounds since the 1920s, from 1997 to 2017. Although not a member of the original Burke family, Tim held the same values and traits as his predecessors at BCI Burke.

Ahrens, Claude

Claude Ahrens
Biography of Claude W. Ahrens, who started the Miracle Recreation Equipment Company. Claude Ahrens' support for the recreation industry continues today through the Ahrens Foundation.

Ahrens, Paul

Paul Ahrens
Paul Ahrens, the son of Claude Ahrens, joined the family business, Miracle Playground Equipment Company, after a year of college. He was a talented inventor like his father and grandfather, John Ahrens.

Almon, Joan

Joan Almon
Joan Almon was the Founding Director of the Alliance for Childhood and served as its Director of Programs. She was a former co-chair of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and a consultant on early childhood education.

Armitage, Marc

Marc Armitage
Marc Armitage is a playwork consultant, trainer, researcher, lecturer, and author. He believes that play is “what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests in their own way and for their own reasons” and that playwork is “not 'adult-led' or 'child-led', but 'play-led'.”

Attwell, Ernest T

Ernest T Attwell
An important recreation pioneer, Ernest T. Attwell extended the "quality as well as quantity" of recreational opportunities for minority groups in the first half of the 20th century. Ernest T. Attwell was inducted into the Robert W. Crawford Recreation and Park Hall of Fame in October of 1989.

Beckwith, Jay

Jay Beckwith
Jay Beckwith, one of the "fathers of the modern playground," attended Whittier College starting in 1961. He then went to San Francisco State University for a Fine Arts & Design degree in 1963 and did graduate studies at Pacific Oaks College in Child Development in 1965. Jay started designing unique play environments in 1970.

Bowers, Louis

Louis Bowers
For 40 years Dr. Louis Bowers was a physical education researcher, grant writer, professor, author, and administrator in the higher education arena with a specialty in Adapted Physical Education and a focus on the development of children with disabilities through play.

Braucher, Howard S

Howard S. Braucher
Howard S. Braucher provided a clear vision of the role and importance of recreation for all people, guided the emerging American recreation movement, and anchored the National Recreation Association as a supportive organization of play and recreation.

Brown, Stuart

Dr. Stuart Brown
Dr. Stuart Brown is a leading play expert who has researched and written about the significance of play in the lives of animals and humans and how free play develops the social and locomotive skills in children that are necessary in life. He founded the National Institute for Play to focus on the research on play.

Brown, Virgil K

Virgil K. Brown
Virgil K. Brown was a scholar and an author of the recreation movement in America as well as the administrator of the Chicago Park District Recreation Division.

Burriss, Kathleen

Dr Kathleen Burriss
An authority on early childhood development and play, Dr. Kathleen Burriss is professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Burriss is a prolific writer and speaker on the subjects of early childhood learning, outdoor learning, and play.

Butler, George D

George D. Butler
George D. Butler was the National Recreation Association's Director of Research for forty-three years and the author of several recreation books. George became known as "a pathfinder, a ground breaker, and a pioneer" who "laid the foundation" of an effective service infrastructure within the emerging recreation field.

Byrd, Danny

Danny Byrd - Cre8Play designer
Danny Byrd is a playground equipment designer for Cre8Play, a custom play designer and manufacturer. His work in the playground industry included serving on several ASTM International committees.

Caesar, Betsy

Betsy Caesar
President of Playcare, Inc., Betsy Caesar is a playground designer and playground safety expert. Betsy believes that "the greatest single cause of playground injury is the lack of maintenance. A playground that is created but not maintained in a safe manner can be the cause of serious injury or even death" to children.

Caillois, Roger

Roger Caillois
The early twentieth century Frenchman Roger Caillois was a scholar who studied topics in sociology, biology, anthropology, geology, linguistics, religions, and mythology and how they interconnect and influence each other.

Christensen, Keith

Keith Christensen
Dr. Keith M. Christensen is a landscape architect, professor, researcher, and the founder and director of Beyond Access, a program which offers technical assistance when designing inclusive play environments. He believes that "Inclusive play experiences help children with and without disabilities discover that they are competent and capable, able to take risks, climb higher, think harder, and foster friendships."

Christiansen, Monty

Monty Christiansen
Monty Christiansen has been concerned about children's safety as a designer of playgrounds, a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, professor, author, and active member in numerous professional associations.

Comenius, John Amos

John Amos Comenius
John Amos Comenius was an education reformer and religious leader who is now known as the Father of Modern Education. He revolutionized education in the way school systems were set up, created a general theory of education around the idea of children learning at a natural pace from simple concepts to challenging theories, and wrote a series of textbooks on teaching methods and subject matter for children.

Cosco, Nilda

Nilda Cosco
Dr. Nilda Cosco is a Research Associate Professor and an Education Specialist who is concerned with the impact of outdoor and built environments on the well being of children and their families.

Crawford, Robert W

Robert W Crawford
Robert W. Crawford had a long and distinguished career in park and recreation and was recognized as one of the greatest leaders in the field. He was influential in transforming the way cities and residents viewed parks.

Curtis, Henry S

Henry S. Curtis
Dr. Henry S. Curtis was a public supporter of play and the playground movement through his research, writings, leadership, playground planning, and teaching. He valued team games and sports, which influenced the American playground movement towards organized recreation.

Dattner, Richard

Richard Dattner
Once known as one of the “Young Turks of radical urban playground design,” Richard Dattner is an architect who has been leading the innovative curve of architectural design for both playscapes and public buildings for over 50 years.

Davis, Roger

Co-founder of Playground Safety Services Incorporated (PSSI), Roger Davis believes in "SAFE Outdoor Learning Environments for ALL" and has made "Play it Safe!" the motto of his company. He is also the President of PlaySpection, a division of PSSI-Playstruction that produces playground audit and inspection software.

DeGroot, Edward

Edward DeGroot
A key player in the playground movement, Edward DeGroot developed Chicago's South Parks and served on several Playground Association of America committees. Edward DeGroot was a firm believer in the recreational need of sports for youth and promoted the creation of the sport of softball, first known as playground ball.

DeKoven, Bernie

Bernie DeKoven
Calling himself a "Fun-theorist," Bernie DeKoven designed, taught, and wrote about games. Bernie DeKoven was a play advocate who authored books and developed games including video games.

Dewey, John

John Dewey
John Dewey was one of the most significant educational theorists of the early twentieth century. He was a philosopher, social reformer, and educator who explored the ideas of experience and reflection, democracy and community, and environments for learning.

Dickie, George

George Dickie
An early playground and recreation leader, George Dickie was influential on the city, state, and national levels. George Dickie was the executive secretary of the Federal Inter-Agency Committee on Recreation.

Edwardson, Paul

Paul Edwardson
Paul Edwardson has had a long career in the parks and recreation field and has been especially concerned with playground safety and maintenance.

Elkind, David

David Elkind, child psychologist, educator, speaker, and author
A child psychologist, educator, speaker, and author, Dr. David Elkind has built on and furthered the works of biologist and child psychologist, Jean Piaget. Dr. David Elkind has focused on the cognitive, perceptual, and social development of children and adolescents with an emphasis on what constitutes healthy development.

Enderis, Dorothy

Dorothy Enderis
Known as "The Lady of the Lighted Schoolhouse," in the early 20th century Dorothy Caroline Enderis developed leisure time recreation into an internationally recognized program that "demonstrated what a city can do to help its people live happy lives."

English, Charles H

Charles H. English
In the early twentieth century, Charles H. English was a recreation leader who was known for being resourceful and innovative in creating recreation programs.

Erikson, Erik

Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson was a renowned psychoanalyst who proposed that children were products of society’s expectations, prejudices, and prohibitions. His best known work is his theory that each stage of life is associated with a specific psychological struggle, which contributes to a major aspect of personality.

Flannery, Arch R

Arch R Flannery
Known as the "father of baseball" in Battle Creek, Michigan, itself the home of amateur baseball, Arch Flannery promoted physical education, amateur sports, and civic recreation for over 40 years. For his achievements the Flannery Softball Complex in Battle Creek was named in his honor and he was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

Friedberg, M Paul

M Paul Friedberg
M. Paul Friedberg is a landscape architect who has influenced urban design of playgrounds, parks, plazas, and outdoor malls to encourage opportunities for play. Paul believes that, "Design is not the ultimate goal. It's the vehicle by which the ultimate goal is play."

Froebel, Friedrich

black and white sketch of Friedrich Froebel
Friedrich Froebel was truly a pioneer in early childhood education. He established a new type of school for three and four year old children in 1837, which he called a child's garden or kindergarten. Prior to this there had been no educational training for children under the age of seven.

Frost, Joe

Joe Frost
After more than 50 years of teaching, consulting, and writing about child development and play, Dr. Joe Frost was acknowledged as the contemporary father of play advocacy. Dr. Frost's academic studies centered on child development and culminated in a Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas.

Gill, Tim

Tim Gill
Through his writing, public speaking, consulting, and independent research, Tim Gill is focused on the "changing nature of childhood, children's play and free time, and their evolving relationships with the people and places around them."

Godbey, Geoffrey

Dr. Geoffrey Godbey headshot
Dr. Geoffrey C. Godbey is a teacher, scholar, speaker, author, and consultant concerning the history and philosophies of leisure, leisure and health, leisure and aging, parks and public recreation, and the future of leisure behavior. He has been "placing leisure into larger and larger contexts, thereby giving leisure larger and larger meaning."

Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick

Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff believes "play is the vehicle through which children maximize their development" and that "children learn best through play and when their learning is embedded in a playful context." As a professor, director, researcher, writer, and speaker, Dr. Golinkoff is "a scientific advocate for children."

Goodenough, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Goodenough
As a teacher, researcher, and writer, Dr. Elizabeth Goodenough has explored and championed children’s need for their own spaces. Dr. Goodenough collaborated on a 60-minute PBS documentary “Where Do the Children Play?” that aired in 2007.

Gordon, Gwen

Gwen Gordon
Gwen Gordon is an educational media designer and producer as well as a creative consultant, coach, independent play scholar, teacher, and author. She believes that "playfulness is both the process and the product of evolution," and that "whenever we take the leap into spontaneous free play we catch a glimpse of our unbounded true nature that we share with all creation."

Gray, Peter

Dr Peter Gray
As a research professor of psychology at Boston College for 30 years, Dr. Peter Gray brought the evolutionary viewpoint to general psychology, education, human development, and children’s play.

Grossman, Esther

Esther Grossman
Esther Fidler Grossman is a playground designer, consultant, and children's safety advocate for indoor and outdoor inclusive play areas. She is passionate about creating child care center inclusive play environments and outdoor classroom learning environments.

Gulick, Luther

Luther Gulick | Playground and Recreation Pioneer
Luther Halsey Gulick gave significant leadership and promotion to the playground and recreation movements of the early 1900s. With most of his time involved in the fields of physical education and hygiene, he liked to take ideas and thoughts, develop them further, put an organization together to bring the ideas to fruition, and then turn the leadership over to others while he moved on to another set of ideas.

Hall, G Stanley

G Stanley Hall
G. Stanley Hall was the leader in establishing psychology as a science and a profession in America in the late 19th century. He was also known as the "father of adolescence." Hall's resulting focus on the child study movement and educational reforms led him to identify play as the means "for making children and adolescents moral and strong."

Hanmer, Lee F

Lee F Hanmer
Lee F. Hanmer, sometimes called an "educational missionary for playgrounds," was influential in the recreation and playground movement early in the 20th century. Lee was an effective and industrious leader in organizations such as the Playground Association of America, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, the Recreation Alliance, and the War Department Commission.

Heath, Robert

Robert Heath
Robert Heath was born in England, educated in Scotland, and worked in Australia before coming to the United States in 1968. While working as a commentator for equestrian events in the United Kingdom, Robert noticed how the shredded wood fiber in the training tracks and in the breeding sheds was "quiet and soft." He decided to bring the idea to the United States.

Hendy, Teri

Teri Hendy
Since 1987, Teri Hendy has been involved with developing, shaping, teaching, and promoting the safety standards through the ASTM International (ASTM) subcommittees, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI). In 1988 she started Site Masters Inc, a business owned by women based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hermann, Ernst

Ernst Hermann
Ernst Hermann was an American pioneer in recreation planning, industrial recreation, and playground administration during the first few decades of 1900. He also taught concerning play, playgrounds, and recreation at Harvard University and concerning the Swedish physical education system at the Sargent School of Physical Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Heseltine, Peter

Peter Heseltine
Peter Heseltine is a playground health and safety consultant and playground industry author in the United Kingdom. He began as a Playworker and a Community Play Development Officer for local government. From there he became a Regional Play Adviser for a national charity and then the editor of UK's first play magazine, Play Times.

Hetherington, Clark W

Clark W. Hetherington
As a pioneer in the American play movement, Dr. Clark W. Hetherington was a philosopher, teacher, and physical education administrator at the university, state, and national levels. Dr. Clark W. Hetherington played an important role in defining and setting standards for the different types of playgrounds, the hierarchy of play leaders, the qualifications of playground leadership, and the organization and content of adequate training courses for play professionals.

Hewes, Dorothy W

Dorothy W. Hewes
Dr. Dorothy W. Hewes was an Early Childhood educator, professor, leader, and historian during the last half of the 20th century. She was the co-author of one of the first preschool administration textbooks and was known as the "Mother of the History of Early Childhood Education."

Hill, Patty Smith

Patty Smith Hill
Patty Smith Hill (1868-1946) was a leader in the Kindergarten movement and an advocate of the value of free play in the education of young children. Although the theory and methods of Friedrich Froebel were accepted in most kindergartens at the time, Hill studied the work of other leading educators and challenged the practice of following Froebel's methods explicitly.

Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory. She has researched and written in the areas of early language development and the importance of play for learning.

Hogan, Paul

Paul Hogan
In 1958, Paul Hogan volunteered at his children's nursery school and was assigned the playground, which he found decrepit and unsafe. This began Paul's interest in designing, constructing, and improving playgrounds.

Huber, Rolf

Rolf Huber
Rolf Huber has been involved in inventing flooring and poured-in-place surfacing for running tracks, gym floors, and playgrounds. He has been a key player in setting standards for surfacing and promoting impact testing equipment.

Huizinga, Johan

Johan Huizinga
Johan Huizinga was a Dutch historian who lived from 1872 to 1945. His book, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, published in 1938, suggested the instinct for play as the central element in human culture and examined the role of play in law, war, science, poetry, philosophy, and art.

Iverson, MaryLou

MaryLou Iverson
MaryLou Iverson formed The Iverson Associates in 1990 to provide risk consulting for playgrounds and play spaces. With a degree in Recreation Administration from Michigan State University and 20 years' experience as Director of Parks and Recreation for cities in three different states, MaryLou, through The Iverson Associates, offers audits, inspections, staff trainings, design review, and project management.

Johnson, George E

George Ellsworth Johnson, a play administrator, author, and instructor of the early 1900s, believed that play was essential for children's physical development and health as well as being the precursor of later satisfying work, the means to shaping their emotional life, and the "mother of education." As a teacher, George furthered the play movement with his practical and philosophical knowledge and thus influenced the next generation of educators and administrators in the recreation and related fields.

Kalousek, Tom

Tom Kalousek
Tom Kalousek began working for the Bensenville Park District in Illinois after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography/Geology. He supervised maintenance there and subsequently at the nearby Arlington Height Park District and the Elmhurst Park District. During this time Tom began a long association with the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). Tom is also on the steering committee of the US Play Coalition that was formed at Clemson University in 2009.

Kellert, Stephen

Stephen Kellert
Dr. Stephen R. Kellert is a Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research and writings have centered around the concept of "biophilia" the instinctual connection of humans with the natural world. Stephen's work centers on this connection with special interest in sustainable designs and environmental conservation.

King, Barb

Barb King
Steve and Barb King founded Landscape Structures, Inc. in 1971. Barb King conceived the idea of connecting various play components. The Säjai Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2006 by Barb King. The Foundation was created in an effort to combat childhood obesity by developing programs that encourage children to increase activity and make good food choices.

King, Steve

Steve King - Landscape Structures
Steve and his wife Barb King founded Landscape Structures, Inc. in 1971. From the concept of "continuous play," together they created a home-based business, and that company has grown to more than 300 employees headquartered in Delano, Minnesota, and 200 world-wide representatives. The company has designed, manufactured and installed more than 50,000 playgrounds worldwide.

Klamer, Reuben

Reuben Klamer
Reuben B. Klamer invented or designed more than 200 toys, including 46 games, the most famous of which was the The Game of Life. He felt that "the best playthings for children are simple, with shape, structure and form appropriate for their developmental stage. Great toys fire children's imagination and can be played with in many creative ways."

Kutska, Ken

Ken Kutska
Ken Kutska has been involved since the 1970s in the evolution of the public playground industry safety standards and was co-founder and instructor of the National Recreation and Park Association's National Playground Safety Institute and its internationally recognized Certified Playground Safety Inspector Program.

Lady Allen of Hurtwood

Lady Allen of Hurtwood
Lady Allen of Hurtwood (1897-1976) was an avid advocate for children's rights and welfare throughout her lifetime and was principally responsible for introducing the concept of adventure playgrounds and planning for children's play from their point of view. Her numerous books and pamphlets influenced public thought and brought about much change for children's welfare in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

Lee, Joseph

Joseph Lee
Joseph Lee began life in 1862 as the son of a wealthy Boston family, and through a lifetime of leadership, research, writings, and philanthropy, he became known as the "Father of the Playground Movement." A contemporary characterized Lee's work with schools, playgrounds, and recreation with these words: "Joseph Lee had constructive imagination. After he had backed his vision with money, persistence, and persuasion, the United States was no longer the same."

Lehman, Todd

Todd Lehman
Todd Lehman is the founder and executive creative director of Cre8Play, a custom design playground manufacturer. The goal of his company is to design and build playgrounds to "play in" rather than "play on."

Locke, John

John Locke
John Locke was one of the most important philosophers of the late 17th century. His writings influenced thought on human understanding, civil rights, childhood education, government structure, and separation of church and state.

Louv, Richard

Richard Louv
Richard Louv (1949) is an American journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature, and community. Coining the term Nature-Deficit Disorder, his highly-acclaimed book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, was first published in 2005. The book sparked an international dialogue about the declining relationship between children and nature.

Mainella, Fran

Fran Mainella
With a background in the parks and recreation industry, Fran Mainella was appointed as the first woman Director of the National Park Service in 2001. Fran Mainella serves as co-chair of the US Play Coalition and is a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University's Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management.

Malaguzzi, Loris

Loris Malaguzzi
Loris Malaguzzi was an early childhood educator who founded the educational philosophy known as the Reggio Emilia Approach, which views children as strong, powerful, and competent to learn through their own exploration. Children are encouraged to develop their own theories about how their environment works through discovery.

Mallery, Otto T

Otto T. Mallery
Otto Tod Mallery, known as the "Father of Recreation in Philadelphia," was an economist, "citizen volunteer," and leader in the local, national, and international recreation movement of the early 20th century. Calling him "farseeing, statesmanlike, and devoted," Howard S. Braucher further characterized him as "one of the great leaders in the recreation movement nationally and locally in Philadelphia."

Marcus, Clare Cooper

Clare Cooper Marcus
Clare Cooper Marcus is an internationally recognized author and researcher on the psychological and sociological components of architecture, landscape design, and urban open space. From her studies she has promoted the design of environments for children, in particular by adding gardens and natural elements to outdoor spaces around schools, hospitals, day care centers, and public housing developments.

Mather, Stephen

Stephen Mather
Stephen Tyng Mather was the founding Director of the National Park Service and an early supporter of state parks. It was said that he "sacrificed his money, his health, his time, his opportunities for wealth, in order that he might promote that which will mean so much to the people of this country in the future."

Michaelis, Bill

Dr Bill Michaelis
Bill Michaelis is a leading play advocate who has written, taught, and consulted extensively in the area of play and its applications to creativity, learning development, self-esteem, and healthy living for all age groups.

Montessori, Maria

Maria Montessori headshot black and white
Dr. Maria Montessori was one of the most influential pioneers in education for children in the 20th century, and her methods have continued to be utilized in Montessori schools around the world. Her discoveries in working with children led to teaching methods that allow for child-directed learning with the teacher facilitating the environment to aid in the child's interests with the message to "follow the child."

Moore, Robin C

Robin C Moore
Robin C. Moore began his lifelong career by combining his interests in environmental design, child development, and play spaces while at MIT. He is a well known author, teacher, speaker and play advocate. Robin shares his expertise in child development, landscape architecture, and environmental education around the world.

Norquist, Tom

Tom Norquist
Throughout his career Tom Norquist has worked to raise playground industry standards. Tom says that "A major key to safer yet more challenging equipment is promoting equipment design research that emphasizes both developmental and safety factors."

Olds, Anita Rui

Anita Rui Olds
One of North America's leading experts on child care center design, Anita Rui Olds was passionate about designing children's play spaces that would fulfill their developmental needs and provide a "rich environment for the wild spirit to flourish."

Olmsted, Frederick Law

Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted and his colleagues were the first Americans to regard landscape architecture as a profession and laid the foundation for the developing practice in the latter half of the 1800s. Olmstead's theories on landscape architecture have profoundly influenced the profession, and he is regarded as the most accomplished landscape architect in American history.

Parker, David

Parker, David
Involved with Park and Recreation Associations, David Parker has also become a safety inspector for CPSI and NPSI and worked with ASTM on safety issues. David Parker became a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) in 1985.

Peeples, Tom

Tom Peeples
Tom Peeples, a consultant on playground design and safety issues, has assisted in developing and promoting playground safety standards through his involvement with ASTM International (ASTM), the National Playground Contractors Association Inc. (NPCAI), and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was a social and educational reformer and writer in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He believed that society could best be changed by education and that reform began with assisting the individual students to help themselves.

Piaget, Jean

Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a noted theorist in the field of developmental psychology and in the study of human intelligence. Play is an important element in Piaget's theory. It is a vehicle for the child to understand the world around him as well as an indicator of the child's cognitive development.

Plumb, Steven

Steven Plumb
Steven S. Plumb is an instructor and consultant for park maintenance and playground safety issues. For forty years he has been active in designing, installing, operating, and maintaining public playgrounds as well as teaching and consulting concerning playground safety and maintenance.

Pratt, Caroline

Caroline Pratt
An innovative educator at the forefront of American educational reform, Caroline Pratt believed that play is a child's natural and most meaningful way of learning. Caroline Pratt is credited for developing wooden blocks, called unit blocks, which continue to be used in classrooms today as essential tools for learning.

Preston, John

John Preston was an expert on playground safety. He worked with the Consumer Public Safety Commission to publish the Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Preston revised and updated the handbook in order to clarify the different recommendations and keep it current. This handbook has become a very important part of the playground industry and is known by those in the industry as "Preston's Handbook."

Randall, Josephine

Josephine Randall
Early in the twentieth century, Josephine D. Randall was one of the first women to direct a municipal playground department and a major recreation department. Over twenty five years she led the San Francisco Recreation Department from inception to being a national noteworthy example of quality.

Reese, Lloyd

Lloyd Reese
As Director of Engineering and Development at PlayPower, Inc. and former president of International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA), Lloyd Reese believes that "The first decade of this century has also seen a society that is slowly but steadily realizing that benefits of play are far reaching."

Rimmer, James

James Rimmer
Dr. James H. Rimmer is a researcher who has had a long career in developing and directing health promotion programs for people with disabilities. As an author and professor, he has written on various subjects relating to health promotion, physical activity, secondary conditions, and disability, and he has been characterized as "the nation's leading voice on physical activity and disability."

Rogers, James E

James E Rogers
James Edward Rogers was a sports and recreation teacher, leader, and director in the early 1900s. Building on these experiences he later became a community organizer and public speaker on recreation and physical education issues.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an 18th century political philosopher, education reformist, author, tutor, and composer. His ideas had an impact on political thought and practice, the emerging European romanticism movement, the development of the popular novel, and the discovery approach to education.

Sallis, James

James Sallis
Dr. James Sallis is a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Active Living Research Program. With a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Psychology, a master's degree in Psychology, and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Sallis has researched and written extensively on physical activity and human behavior.

Singer, Dorothy

Dorothy Singer
An advocate for play, Dorothy Singer is a research scientist, professor, consultant, and author who focuses on early childhood development, the effects of television on youth, and the importance of imaginative play. Dorothy Singer co-edited the book Play=Learning: How Play Motivates and Enhances Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth.

Skenazy, Lenore

Lenore Skenazy
New York City-based Lenore Skenazy is a syndicated columnist constantly examining the curious realities of daily life. "Free-Range Kids" is a phrase and a movement Lenore created and promoted through a blog, a book, and speaking engagements. She has become a voice to "start renormalizing childhood" and to realize that "Kids are competent, kids are capable."

Smilansky, Sara

Sara Smilansky
Developmental psychologist Dr. Sara Smilansky is best known for her work on play training and its effects on children. She proposed four types of play, which contribute to a child's development and learning: functional play, constructive play, games with rules, and dramatic or pretend play.

Sorensen, Carl Theodor

Carl Theodor Sorensen
Carl Theodor Sorensen is considered one of the greatest landscape architects of the 20th century. He is best known for creating the first adventure playground along with schoolteacher Hans Dragehjelm in Emdrup, Denmark, in 1940.

Spease, David

David Spease
Drawing on his 40 plus years of experience, David Spease is a landscape architect, contractor, playground safety instructor and inspector, teacher, lecturer, and CEO of Safeplay by Design, Inc. David is committed to safely designed play spaces, safety inspections and trainings, impact testing, and synthetic sports field testing.

Spock, Michael

Michael Spock began his career as the Director of the Boston Children's Museum in 1962. His unconventional educational background led him to approach revitalizing the museum with an experiential and informal platform.

Stoddard, Curtis

Curtis Stoddard headshot
Passionate about children's play, playgrounds, and safety, Curtis Stoddard has a long history as a play advocate, playground contractor, and safety instructor. Curtis Stoddard was one of the founders of the National Playground Contractors Association as well as Play and Playground Encyclopedia and Play and Playground Magazine.

Suk, Michael

Michael Suk
Dr. Michael Suk has spoken to over 100 organizations on the importance of increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier. He is a strong advocate for play and has presented medical research findings on the benefits of play, especially playing outdoors in nature. He believes that, "simple outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping on public lands and waters can serve as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle."

Sutterby, John

John Sutterby
Dr. John Sutterby is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville and a leading outdoor play advocate for child development and societal justice. One of his concerns is the inequity of park and play space locations for underserved communities.

Sutton-Smith, Brian

Brian Sutton-Smith headshot
As a lifetime student of play, Brian Sutton-Smith was one of the foremost play theorists of his time. With over sixty-five years observing, researching, and teaching in the fields of educational psychology and play theory, his work resulted in more than 350 books and articles that are stored at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play located at The Strong in Rochester, New York.

Thompson, Donna

found of NPPS Donna Thompson  headshot
Physical education professional, Donna Thompson, founded the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) in 1995. Donna Thompson has been involved in playground safety research, education, and consulting. As Donna's interest in playgrounds became more and more focused on playground safety, she became involved in the establishment of safety standards.

Van Eyck, Aldo

Aldo van Eyck
Aldo van Eyck was born in the Netherlands and educated in England. At that time, the only existing play spaces were private and only for the wealthy. Aldo began designing playgrounds at 28 and over the 30 years that he designed playgrounds, more than 700 of his playgrounds were established in Amsterdam and echoes of his designs were being used throughout the Netherlands.

Vaux, Calvert

Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux was an architect and park planner, who is most known for his work in the creation of Central Park in New York City and Prospect Park in Brooklyn in the 1800s. His chosen title, “landscape architect,” evolved from his strong emphasis on the part nature played in his designs. In his own words, he felt “Nature first and 2d and 3d – Architecture after a while” when creating a park setting.

Vialet, Jill

Jill Vialet
Jill Vialet co-founded the Museum of Children's Art and, more recently, founded Playworks, a recess and after school physical activity program. She has a conviction that "play is a precious commodity," she declares, "When recess is bad, it infects the entire school day."

Vygotsky, Lev

Lev Vygotsky
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who was born in 1896 in Belorussia, now known as Belarus. He received a law degree from the University of Moscow but also studied literature, linguistics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and the arts. Vygotsky developed the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).

Wallach, Fran

Fran Wallach
Beginning her landmark career in the recreation industry as a volunteer, Fran Wallach had a long career in the park and recreation industry. Fran Wallach was heavily involved in playground safety issues and ASTM.

Weir, Lebert H

Lebert H Weir black and white headshot
Lebert Howard Weir was a recreation and park leader, speaker, consultant, and researcher of the early 20th century. He was one of the first field secretaries to be employed by the Playground Association of America, later known as the National Recreation Association.

Williams, Arthur

Arthur Williams

As a behind-the-scenes leader of the Playground Association of America, Arthur Williams assisted to shape the field of recreation for fifty years in the early 20th century.

Wilson, Penny

Penny Wilson

Penny Wilson is a professional Playworker who works for the Play Association Tower Hamlets – PATH, a non-profit organization based in the East End of London that supports play in an overcrowded, poor, increasingly urban setting.

Wright, Brett

Brett Wright

A professor at Clemson University, Dr. Brett Wright is also an active researcher concerning park management issues, community impacts, and the importance of nature-based play for children. Brett Wright is the Chairman of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University and the Co-Chairman of the US Play Coalition hosted by Clemson University.

Yancey, Toni

Toni Yancey headshot
Antronette (Toni) Yancey graduated from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, in 1979, where she was also the starting center for the women's basketball team. Her medical degree was earned in 1982 at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. She left her residency in psychiatry at Duke in 1984 and then practiced as a general practitioner in Durham and New York City.
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