Using Public Spaces for Learning
Recognition of environmental print, the everyday print in signs, labels and logos, is a stage of literacy development that is meaningful for children. Now, a few projects are more intentionally using print in public spaces to support literacy and learning.
How To Spark Learning Everywhere Kids Go — Starting With The Supermarket shows how signage in grocery stores can increase conversation between parents and their young children in a very cost effective way.
At an Oakland playground, illustrated signs are mixed in with the play structures. The signs include conversational prompts and are intended to promote conversation between parents and children. To learn more about this, read The Playground Where Babies Learn To Talk.
An even more ambitious project is Urban Thinkscape, which aims to place informal learning opportunities in public spaces.
Urban Thinkscape marries architectural design with evidence-based knowledge from the science of how people learn. It places aesthetically beautiful, fun, and exciting learning opportunities directly within cityscapes in the places where people naturally go—at bus stops, on sidewalks, and in modified streetlights.
To learn more about this project, read Urban Thinkscape: Using the city as an agent of change.