Martin Guhn

Assistant Professor
PhD, University of British Columbia
School of Population and Public Health

Dr. Martin Guhn is an Assistant Professor at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), School of Population and Public Health, UBC, and the National Research Lead of the Forum on Early Child Development Monitoring, which is supported by funding from the Lawson Foundation. Dr. Guhn’s interdisciplinary, applied research focuses on social, cultural, demographic, and socio-economic determinants of children’s and adolescents’ developmental health, wellbeing, and educational trajectories, drawing from HELP’s EDI and MDI research projects and population-based longitudinal data linkages. Further research interests include children’s social and emotional development, bio-ecological theories of human development, validation of population-level assessment, measurement of change over time, educational reform, as well as school and community-based knowledge-to-action research.

Co-principal Investigator Awards

International Research Roundtables, Eva Oberle, 2018

Eva Oberle

Levelling the playing fields: Developing strategies to promote outdoor play in schools and communities

Free outdoor play—such as jumping in a pile of leaves, and climbing trees—is a child’s right and has a wide range of benefits. It is active, fosters creativity, teaches children about their natural environment, and promotes positive cognitive, social, and emotional development. Over the past decades, outdoor play has declined sharply while sedentary activities have increased steadily. This trend is linked to serious health problems, including childhood obesity and mental health problems. Scholars and child’s right activists globally are concerned and have called for action to offset this trend.

Our Roundtable intends to develop a strategy for systematically creating opportunities for outdoor play in communities and schools in Canada.

  1. Expert researchers, stakeholders, policy makers, and practitioners will develop a common theoretical framework for defining and measuring outdoor play by synthesizing the diverse theoretical and practical perspectives that are held on this topic.
  2. We will identify key indicator questions for measuring outdoor play, and make a plan for developing, validating, and testing a “Play Assessment Module”; a foundational step towards advancing advocacy efforts and develop policies and practice.
  3. We will discuss how to incorporate the “Play Assessment Module” into an existing infrastructure for population-level longitudinal child development assessment across Canada, including the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP, UBC). This step is critical to achieve a sustainable system of assessing, monitoring, and improving outdoor play in communities. Through our discussions, we expect to achieve the consensus that is needed to advance and catalyze research, policy, and practice of outdoor play.

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