USC education academic Dr Ali Black is leading a specialised research project seeking the suggestions of children to help advise on an upgrade to Brisbane Botanic Gardens’ popular Children’s Trail at the base of Mt Coot-tha.
Dr Black was sought out for the Brisbane project following the success of recent research she carried out with the Sunshine Coast Council to support a child-friendly upgrade to experiences and education opportunities at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve at Maleny.
The Senior Lecturer in Education said the move to engaging with children when planning nature-based activities would lead to facilities that were much more engaging and useful.
“It has been quite common for children’s play areas to be developed without actually taking the direct views of children and young people into account,” Dr Black said.
“Neglecting to listen to children’s perspectives is rarely something that’s done by organisations on purpose, but quite often adults come in with an interpretation of what they believe children will like.
“It is not often that an open discussion with the demographic that’s going to be accessing that experience takes place.
“For example, when we conducted sessions with children at Mary Cairncross Reserve, we realised that while the walking tracks were engaging, the signs were too high for them, and they couldn’t see the images or information.”
The Mt Coot-tha Children’s Trail research project is focused on listening to the perspectives of children aged between 5 and 12 and getting first-hand information on what they find interesting and of importance along the trail.