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Research and Development Partners

In order to develop the most innovative play products and programs in the industry, PlayCore is proud to partner with a variety of leading experts, universities, and like-minded organizations to study and promote the importance of play.

Our partnerships help advocate for meaningful play experiences and encourage best practices implementation in overall play designs, products and play programming.



Acorn Group, Inc.
Blending the skills of nationally certified interpretive planners, designers, and educators, The Acorn Group offers services in interpretive and educational master planning, exhibit design, interpretive center design, curriculum development, and evaluation.

PlayCore and GameTime partnered with The Acorn Group to develop the downloadable Play Trail Activity Booklets. Full of engaging activities for families to do before, during, or after trail experiences, these booklets are designed to enrich children's outdoor experiences, instill lifelong connections to the environment, and increase engagement with the natural world. These free resources correspond with GameTime's Play Trail product line and play pocket themes. GameTime also works with The Acorn Group on the development of playful signage to promote environmental literacy along trail networks.

To learn more, visit www.acorngroup.com


Society of Health and Physical Educators
The Society of Health and Physical Educators, doing business as SHAPE America, is headquartered in Reston, VA, 25 miles west of Washington, D.C. Its vision is “Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!” SHAPE America is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, dance, school health and sport—all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. Its mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport by providing its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.

Through SHAPE America’s partnership with PlayCore, we stay abreast of best practices to promote healthy lifestyles and a lifelong love of fitness through play and recreation.


The Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at Utah State University
The CPD is Utah’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education Research, and Services and has been a leader in the disability field 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 www.cpd.usu.edu


Innovative Learning Concepts
Innovative Learning Concepts, Inc. uses its multi-sensory TouchMath program to engage students of all abilities and learning styles in a variety of mathematical concepts, from elementary skills to pre-algebra.

PlayCore and Innovative Learning Concepts, Inc. have partnered to help bring the TouchMath program outside to the playground, as a fun and creative way to reinforce the TouchMath classroom curriculum.

To learn more, visit www.touchmath.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=playcore.welcome




National Learning Initiative (NLI)
A research and design assistance program in the College of Design at North Carolina State University, NLI creates environments to support human development and a healthy biosphere. It promotes the experience of children and families in the natural world through environmental design, action research, education, and information.

NLI has partnered to develop NatureGrounds®, Pathways for Play, and assisted with significant product and play behavioral research, and outreach training.

To learn more, visit www.naturalearning.org


National Lekotek Center 
Since 1980, The National Lekotek Center's "therapeutic play" philosophy has grown to include a network of 20 affiliates, who serve over 6500 families annually. Lekotek offers a vast model of programs including; family play sessions, toy lending libraries, Compuplay programs, and other services, such as home visits, that meet the unique and diverse needs of families.

Developed in partnership with the National Lekotek Center, 2Play Together, offers a rich inclusive play program specifically designed to promote inclusive play, understanding, and fun between children with and without disabilities on the playground.  As the country's leading source on play for children with special needs, PlayCore is proud to partner with The National Lekotek Center to carefully evaluate a variety of products through their AblePlay Rating™ system to assess how it meets the needs of children of all abilities and support more inclusive play opportunities.

To learn more, visit www.lekotek.org


National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) 
National Swimming Pool Foundation encourages aquatic activity, aiming to make pools safer and keep them open. They approach this goal through product and program offerings, as well as helping to fund research and “create swimmers.” Their training certifications have instructed over 350,000 professionals, and they have given over $4 million of grant funds to impact policies and practices all over the world.

To learn more, visit www.nspf.org


Robert Leslie Publishing
Robert-Leslie Publishing, The Early Childhood Company, strives to help young children succeed by learning about the world and their place in it. With over thirty years of experience in the early childhood and educational publishing arenas, their mission is to provide consistent publication of exciting, developmentally appropriate, research-based learning materials for children, teachers, parents, and school administrators. Robert-Leslie is the creator of the award-winning InvestiGator Club® inquiry-based learning systems that connect play, imagination, and content to the real world.

PlayCore partnered with Robert Leslie Publishing to create the Outdoor Creative Play and Learning to offer unique standards-based playground activities that stimulate creativity, imagination, and learning.
To learn more about our education partner, visit www.robert-leslie.com or www.investigatorclub.com.


Teri Hendy, as the principal of Site Masters, brings over 25 years of experience in researching, designing, teaching, writing and consulting about playground equipment and play areas. She serves as a key member of the ASTM committee for playground safety, and helps to shape the guidelines that playground manufacturers follow for compliant playground equipment. With her expertise and keen understanding of these issues, Teri has been instrumental in the creation of PlayCore's Safety Resource Guide and Playground Supervision Guide, two publications that assist site owners in developing and following safety and maintenance programs for their play space.
To learn more, visit www.sitemastersinc.com


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is an engaged, metropolitan university committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service, and dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of the region through strategic partnerships and community involvement.

PlayCore has 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.  PlayCore also supports the University through offering internships to students looking for professional experience and development. 

To learn more, visit www.utc.edu


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