Learning Landscapes

What's Happening Now?

The Seattle Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School program partnered with the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning and Seattle Public School's Northgate Elementary for a Learning Landscapes pilot project.

The University of Washington will be conducting pre and post observations to find evidence of whether installation of the designs increases opportunities for meaningful adult/child and child/child interaction and children's playful learning overall. 

Like other government agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are trying our best to adapt to the rapidly shifting emergency circumstances, while acknowledging there is significant uncertainty about what the immediate future holds. With less than complete staffing, deploying our traffic operations beyond essential work (e.g., supporting our healthcare locations with emergency traffic management plans) is not possible. As a result, installation of the Learning Landscape designs has been paused.

Learning Landscapes is a concept developed by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek at Temple University to address educational inequities in urban areas. By transforming the public realm into opportunities for young children and their caretakers to talk and engage in playful learning, children will have the opportunity to develop language, spatial awareness, and gross motor functioning that will help them build a foundation for success in school.

In Seattle, by installing designs on a sidewalk that will provide safe pedestrian passage to school through a cognitively stimulating environment, our hope is that children will engage in play and conversation that will support their development and prepare them for school.

A rendering of the project after completion with children walking on the Learning Landscape sidewalk

Project Map

Northgate's Learning Landscape designs will be located on the sidewalk at the intersection of N 117th St and 1st Ave NE and at the intersection of Meridian Ave N and N 115th St. 

A map of the project location on N 117th St

Project Timeline

The anticipated project timeline with outreach and design in 2018-2019 and with installation anticipated in Spring 2020.

Northgate Elementary's Learning Landscape

Sample designs with ruler, shape, footprint, math, and letter scrambles.