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Janet A. Young With Young Girl

Janet A. Young M.A.

Growing up in the hills and valleys of Los Angeles, I was provided a childhood unfettered by unnecessary grown-up intervention. I attribute my ability to imagine, connect and play as an adult to this unique upbringing.

For over twenty-years, I was a cooperative nursery school Director and Teacher. I earned my Master’s Degree in Human Development proudly at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”                                                 -Diane Ackerman

“All learning is social-emotional learning.

Children do not learn skills in isolation but through social connection and interconnection to the real world - their world.          ~Ellen Booth Church

As an early childhood educator,  I believe in the power of play and its ability to foster meaningful connections between children and adults. For over 20 years I honed my teaching craft and educational values and witnessed children’s intrinsic need for connection. This has become the guiding principle in my work as well as my motivation for launching Playful Designs in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Today my goal is to create play spaces that encourage children to explore materials, create at their own pace, engage freely in pretend play and most importantly connect with other children. At fairs and festivals I do this by offering children plenty of open-ended activities that keep them coming back over time that often involve playing cooperatively with other children.  I use this same design strategy when I work with families and schools to make improvements to their outdoor play spaces.

Whether it's hosting mud kitchen birthday parties, setting up Camp PLAYful for a weekend music festival or reimagining an entire backyard for more play, I'm passionate about creating play spaces that encourage children to imagine, connect and play.

Playful Designs Landscape Logo with parent holding child in the air with a tent and dog in the background
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