Academic Partners

Supporting independent research and best practice resources

Academic Partners

In order to develop the most innovative programs and products in the industry, PlayCore is proud to partner with a variety of leading universities and like-minded organizations to study, promote, and advocate for the importance of play and recreation. To learn more about our academic network, please visit Our Scholars.


National Institute for Play

The National Institute for Play non-profit public benefit corporation committed to bringing the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. It is gathering research from diverse play scientists and practitioners, initiating projects to expand the clinical scientific knowledge of human play and translating this emerging body of knowledge into programs and resources which deliver the transformative power of play to all segments of society. The National Institute for Play is led by the founder, Dr. Stuart Brown.

PlayCore recently sponsored the development of The State of PlayScience DVD and partners with Stuart Brown to provide training and program development.

To learn more, visit National Institute for Play.


Natural Learning Initiative

The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) is a research and design assistance program of the College of Design of North Carolina State University. NLI creates environments for healthy human development and a healthy biosphere for generations to come. The purpose of the Natural Learning Initiative is to promote the natural environment in the daily experience of all children and families, through environmental design, action research, education, and dissemination of information.

PlayCore has partnered with the Natural Learning Initiative to develop two comprehensive design programs, NatureGrounds® and Pathways for Play™, to promote and encourage meaningful play experiences for children in nature. PlayCore is a proud sponsor of the Natural Learning Initiative and their annual Growing in Place Symposium and Design Institute.

To learn more, visit Natural Learning Initiative.


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

PlayCore is proud to partner with the University of Tennessee (UTC) on several initiatives. PlayCore’s intern program provides UTC students with a meaningful internship experience in a professional environment, combined with full immersion into their target professions. Many UTC interns go on to full time positions, while others find a robust support network and experience for placement with other companies in Chattanooga and around the world.

PlayCore has also partnered with University experts on projects and programs such as GameTime’s GT Jams™ Music & Movement Playbook and advisory team of professionals to help with the product and program development of an adult outdoor fitness equipment line.

To learn more, visit University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities

The Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) has been a leader in the field of Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Services and for over 38 years. Their mission is to collaborate with partners to strengthen families and individuals across the lifespan through education, policy, research, and services. The Center is interdisciplinary and operates programs as part of a national network focused on improving life for people with disabilities and their families.

PlayCore and the CPD partnered to develop a unique philosophy to create universally designed playgrounds based on 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™ and develop the Me2® program which provides best practices guidelines for creating meaningful play environments for people of all ages and abilities that addresses the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development.

To learn more, visit Utah State CPD.

Continuing Education



The International Association for Continued Education and Training's (IACET) mission is to advance the global workforce by providing the standard framework for quality learning and development through accreditation.

Their History includes the development of the original Continuing Education Unit (CEU) and creation and maintenance of the ANSI/IACET Standard for Continuing Education and Training. IACET uses the ANSI/IACET Standard, in-depth research on the learning process and a nationwide network of experts to help continuing education and training providers to develop a framework for continuous improvement and a superior learning experience.

When an organization becomes an accredited IACET CEU provider, they also get a competitive edge. With IACET continuing education and training (CE/T) accreditation, a company proclaims its commitment to best practices in adult learning and professional training, and that it has successfully mastered IACET’s rigorous accreditation process.To learn more, visit IACET.


American Institute of Architects

The AIA recognizes that continuing education in architecture is crucial to advancing and improving the profession, and members need continuing education to stay at the top of their field . As a registered AIA Continuing Education Provider, PlayCore joins the largest source of education for the design and building industry.

To learn more, visit AIA.


Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System

The Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) is a collaboration of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), and Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF).

LA CES establishes, maintains, and enforces standards for evaluating professional development and continuing education programs for landscape architects. Continuing education has never been more important for professionals; it is needed to stay up to date in the profession, to develop new areas of expertise, and is mandated for maintaining licensure in many jurisdictions. LA CES guides professionals in identifying courses that are appropriate for landscape architects and are offered by legitimate organizations that have controls and processes in place to monitor quality and track attendance.

The mission of the LA CES program is to assure landscape architects and licensing boards that courses provided by LA CES approved providers are of sufficient quality. Only providers that have met LA CES requirements may register courses with LA CES. Registered courses cover a broad range of subject matter and providers are required to identify those courses that meet the LA CES standard of health, safety, and welfare subject matter.

To learn more, visit LACES.