Continuing Education

Continuing Education for Professionals

We are thrilled to offer Continuing Education (CE) to professionals like you, who share our goal of creating inspiring, innovative play solutions for all communities. We offer courses for free, with automated credit reporting. If you are an architect, landscape architect, or other construction professional, you can count on Miracle Recreation to help maintain your accreditation.

Miracle Recreation is an approved CE provider through the ASLA–Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES). These courses are approved for LA CES 1.0 PDH

Learn more about our courses below!

Developing Physical Literacy in Children: Why Early Exposure is the Key to an Active and Healthy Life – October 21st @ 1PM ET

What’s that saying about riding a bike? If you learned once, you’ll never forget? But, what if you never learned how to ride a bike or kick a soccer ball or how to skip? This presentation will look at how physical literacy is developed in children and why early exposure is crucial for a healthy and active lifestyle. We will specifically look into why children are more receptive to developing movement skills at different ages and how we can help them achieve physical literacy in developmentally appropriate ways. We identify barriers to movement that certain populations face and why our children are moving less than ever before. Finally, we will explore how your school playground can be designed to support children to develop fundamental movement skills.

This webinar will be presented by Nic Castona, an elementary physical education teacher and Washington State Coach of the Year award recipient. In his 10 years as a physical education teacher, Nic has taught Pre-K to 12th grade and seen firsthand the challenges and barriers children face when it comes to achieving physical literacy. As a Track & Field and Cross Country coach, he saw the role that early exposure and access to movement had on his athlete’s success. Sparked by a presentation he attended years ago about child development Nic has had an avid interest in the early childhood movement and its effect on living an active and healthy life. His passion is teaching others how children acquire movement skills, the brain science behind this, and how we can help them find ways to be active by understanding why physical literacy really is.

Outcomes:
At the end of the session, participants will be able to:
1. Describe physical literacy and give an example from their own experience.
2. Identify the main elements in the continuum of motor skills (0-12 years).
3. Explain how playgrounds can help develop fundamental movement skills.
4. Describe barriers children face when it comes to accessing movement opportunities.

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Previous Courses:

See our previously offered courses listed below.

Swings in a 21st Century Playground

Swings take a lot of space in a playground design.  Are they worth it?  Swings stimulate a child’s sensory system and help with brain development.  In this workshop, we will discuss the child development benefits to swinging.  We will also explore the many different types of swings that are now available, looking at the advantages of each one

At the end of the course a participant will be able to:
1. Discuss how swinging can stimulate the sensory system and help with brain development

2. Explore how children use gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and motor planning when using swings

3. Explain the social benefits of having swings on the playground

4. Identify the different types of swings available and the advantages of each type

5. Explore how a combination of swings can promote inclusion.

Instructor: Mara Kaplan

Playgrounds for All: Designing inclusive playgrounds that meet the needs of an entire community

More and more communities are identifying inclusion as a high priority when developing master plans and playground designs. Mara Kaplan, PlayPower’s inclusion specialist will offer specific techniques for thinking about inclusive design for designers, landscape architects, urban planners, and park and recreation professionals. We will explore how to easily implement inclusive design principles into any playground design.

  • Learn about the seven sensory systems and how to incorporate activities that stimulate the senses on a playground
  • Explore Parten’s Stages of Play and how they impact engagement on the playground
  •  Examine methods of including everyone on a playground including wheelchair users, autistics, adults, teens, typically developing children
  • Identify the area’s most likely to be inaccessible and what you can do about it.

Playground Fundraising and You

You can’t build a playground without money. Organizations that understand the fundraising landscape – and have a strategy for meeting their objectives – are typically more successful. In this session, we will explore how to identify and communicate effectively with potential donors and review the strategies you can employ to execute a winning fundraising campaign. As part of this session, we’ll also discuss the realities of fundraising in a post-Covid world, including the future of online fundraising and in-person events.

I LU/HSW from LA/CES

Piaget and the Playground: Adding learning to the playground

The benefits of playing on a playground are well known. Children can get exercise, building up their core gross muscles, and practicing balancing as well as other physical play skills. Children make friends, practice cooperative play, and other social play skills. The playground is full of sensory play experiences from spinning to touching to jumping to hearing to seeing. What hasn’t been explored as much as physical, sensory, and social play, are Piaget’s forms of cognitive play. Just as it is important to ensure a variety of physical play events, so is it important to ensure that there are opportunities for functional play, constructive play, symbolic play, and games with rules. In this webinar, we will explore the benefits of these types of play and how to implement them on the playground.

Speaker: Mara Kaplan. Mara Kaplan is an educator, an advocate for inclusive play, and a parent of a child with disabilities. Ms. Kaplan is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in inclusive play design for more than two decades. Ms. Kaplan is the editor of the Inclusive Play Design Guide and helps inform the designs for many of our inclusive products. She provides third-party certification for playground designs. She speaks around the country about her journey as a parent of a child with disabilities as well as on topics of universal design, inclusive playgrounds, and including social and cognitive play.

Making Magic Happen: Creating Outdoor Environments for Young Children

Magic happens on a well-designed early childhood playground. An outside space that is well designed allows for stimulating and challenging play experiences that meet children’s ongoing developmental needs. The first five years of life are an especially critical time for brain development and forming the foundation for future learning and behavior. In this webinar, Dr. Angela Searcy will take you on a journey of discovery. Explore the importance of gross motor, pretend, and social-emotional play. Learn how to look at playground equipment with a critical eye and combine manufactured equipment with loose parts and nature play.

Speaker: Angela Searcy holds a B.A. degree in English and secondary education, a M.S. degree in early childhood development from Erikson Institute and a Doctorate in Education. Her research revolves around brain-based learning as assessed by The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (or CLASS) and its’ correlation to aggressive behaviors in Head Start Preschool Classrooms. An educator since 1990, Angela has experience as a teaceher at all levels of education, as a development therapist through the early intervention system of Illinois, and is currently the owner and founder of Simple Solutions Educational Services a professional development company. Angela is also adjunct faculty teaching family and culture and seminar leader at Erikson Institute, a professional development provider for Kaplan Early Learning Company,Teaching Strategies, LLC, an affiliate trainer for Teachstone, and the Author of “Push Past-It! A Positive Approach to Challenging Classroom Behaviors” A former neuro-developmental specialist, Angela has specialized training in neuroscience and is a candidate in Erikson Institute’s Infant Mental Health Program.

Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities

What type of cities do we want our children to grow up in? Car-dominated, noisy, polluted and devoid of nature? Or walkable, welcoming, and green? As the climate crisis and urbanization escalate, cities urgently need to become more inclusive and sustainable. This session taught by Tim Gill, scholar, advocate and consultant on childhood, reveals how seeing cities through the eyes of children strengthens the case for planning and transportation policies that work for people of all ages, and for the planet. Gill will show how urban designers and city planners can incorporate child friendly insights and ideas into their master plans, public spaces, and streetscapes

Meaningful Placemaking for Outdoor Spaces: Best Practices for Design and Specification of Fabric

Never before have human beings been so sedentary, nor spent so much time indoors. One obstacle to being outdoors is sun exposure – healthy in small doses but dangerous in large ones. This course offers shade creation techniques for designers, landscape architects, urban planners and park and recreation professionals. Tensile fabric structures elevate the value of outdoor space to a high degree. They can be purely functional or wildly imaginative. The designer’s imagination is the key. This course discusses the value of tensile fabric structures and the variety of applications for this exciting form of architecture. The factors that make up tensile fabric structures are discussed, including framing, fabric, connections, and foundations. The process of bringing a fabric structure from idea to implementation is thoroughly discussed. And case studies are inserted throughout to show these innovative structures in action.

10 Steps to a Playground for Children on the Autism Spectrum

1 in 54 children in the United States are on the autism spectrum. 3.5 million people in the United States live with an autism spectrum disorder. This workshop will explore the autism spectrum disorder, the implications for families bringing their child to a playground, and 10 strategies to incorporate in playground designs that address those needs.

I LU/HSW from LA/CES

The Land & Water Conservation Fund

Passed into law in the summer of 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is a landmark piece of environmental legislation for the United States. One of its key outcomes is to guarantee full funding and allocation of the 1965 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Historically, the LWCF has been dogged by underfunding, diversion of resources and uncertainty about its long-term future. The GAOA establishes a permanent, minimum-level of funding for the LWCF at $900-million annually. This presentation will discuss the LWCF’s ongoing operation and the scale and scope of its investment in outdoor recreation over the past 55 years.

1 LU from LA/CES

Surfacing Secrets

Loose fill vs. Synthetic. Accessibility and Safety. Cost and Maintenance. Every playground requires safety surfacing, yet what to purchase is one of the hardest decisions to make. In reality, there is no perfect surfacing, but in this course we will explore all of the different options and discuss the benefits of each type. The goal of this course is to give you all of the information so that you can educate your customers. Together you will be able to make the best decision for a particular playground’s size, budget, use, and maintenance plan.