Play, Learn, and Teach Outdoors—Network (PLaTO-Net): terminology, taxonomy, and ontology

Eun-young Lee, Louise De Lannoy, Lucy Li, Maria Isabel Amando De Barros, Peter Bentsen, Mariana Brussoni, Tove Anita Fiskum, Michelle Guerrero, Bjørg Oddrun Hallås, Susanna Ho, Catherine Jordan, Mark Leather, Greg Mannion, Sarah A. Moore, Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, Nancy L. I. Spencer, Susan Waite, Po-yu Wang, Mark S. Tremblay, Mary Louise AdamsChristine Alden, Salomé Aubert, Marie-claude Beaudry, Félix Berrigan, Alan Champkins, Rita Cordovil, Émilie Mckinnon-côté, Patrick Daigle, Iryna Demchenko, Jan Ellinger, Guy Faulkner, Tanya Halsall, David Harvey, Stephen Hunter, Richard Irvine, Rachel Jones, Avril Johnstone, Anders Wånge Kjellsson, Yannick Lacoste, Rachel A. Larimore, Richard Larouche, Frederico Lopes, Helen Lynch, Christoph Mall, Taru Manyanga, Anne Martin, Gail Molenaar, Shawnda A. Morrison, Jorge Mota, Zoi Nikiforidou, Alexandra Parrington, Katie Parsons, Mathieu Point, Shelagh Pyper, Stephen D. Ritchie, Martin Van Rooijen, Vanessa Scoon, Martyn Standage, Michelle Stone, Son Truong, Riaz Uddin, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Rosemary Welensky, Erin Wentzell, Øystein Winje, Megan Zeni, Milos Zorica

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


A recent dialogue in the field of play, learn, and teach outdoors (referred to as “PLaTO” hereafter) demonstrated the need for developing harmonized and consensus-based terminology, taxonomy, and ontology for PLaTO. This is important as the field evolves and diversifies in its approaches, contents, and contexts over time and in different countries, cultures, and settings. Within this paper, we report the systematic and iterative processes undertaken to achieve this objective, which has built on the creation of the global PLaTO-Network (PLaTO-Net).

This project comprised of four major methodological phases. First, a systematic scoping review was conducted to identify common terms and definitions used pertaining to PLaTO. Second, based on the results of the scoping review, a draft set of key terms, taxonomy, and ontology were developed, and shared with PLaTO members, who provided feedback via four rounds of consultation. Third, PLaTO terminology, taxonomy, and ontology were then finalized based on the feedback received from 50 international PLaTO member participants who responded to ≥ 3 rounds of the consultation survey and dialogue. Finally, efforts to share and disseminate project outcomes were made through different online platforms.

This paper presents the final definitions and taxonomy of 31 PLaTO terms along with the PLaTO-Net ontology model. The model incorporates other relevant concepts in recognition that all the aspects of the model are interrelated and interconnected. The final terminology, taxonomy, and ontology are intended to be applicable to, and relevant for, all people encompassing various identities (e.g., age, gender, culture, ethnicity, ability).

This project contributes to advancing PLaTO-based research and facilitating intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration, with the long-term goal of fostering and strengthening PLaTO’s synergistic linkages with healthy living, environmental stewardship, climate action, and planetary health agendas. Notably, PLaTO terminology, taxonomy and ontology will continue to evolve, and PLaTO-Net is committed to advancing and periodically updating harmonized knowledge and understanding in the vast and interrelated areas of PLaTO.
Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for Outdoor Play Canada (held by MST), the network within which PLaTO-Net is housed, was secured through a grant from The Lawson Foundation and an anonymous donor. Funding for the French translation of the Outdoor Play Canada website, including the PLaTO-Net webpage was provided by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant (#611–2020-0292), with matching funds provided from the above two grants. The funding agencies did not have any influence on the design, process, or outcome of the project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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