LEADING-EDGE POLICY ENSURES FUTURE PLAYGROUNDS ARE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

Children of all abilities will be able to play in Port Coquitlam, BC,
civic playgrounds in the future, thanks to the city’s leading-edge policy.
City Council adopted a Corporate Accessible Play Spaces Policy on June 10 with the goal of
making all future play spaces and equipment safe and accessible for people of all abilities – starting
with the playground upgrades at Lions Park later this year.

Port Coquitlam is the first community in the Lower Mainland and one of the first in the province to
adopt a formal policy of this type.

“It’s important that all children in our community have opportunities to play, interact with each other
and enjoy being outdoors, regardless of their ability,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “We wouldn’t build a
school with steps that kids with physical disabilities couldn’t get into. We don’t build communities any
more that way. Yet we have these barriers in places where kids go to play. This was the right thing
to do.”

The need for the policy was identified following an in-house review of the city’s accessible play
spaces and requests from the community. When Parks & Recreation staff contacted other
municipalities to learn about their policies, they found few, if any, had any formal guidelines.
Port Coquitlam’s new policy states that any new or substantially renovated city playgrounds will
meet or exceed the Canadian Standards Association’s standard for accessible play spaces (Annex
H) throughout their lifetime. Annex H provides specifications for playground elements (such as
layout, circulation paths and play components) that are incorporated in the planning process.
While the new policy will not require the retrofitting of existing playgrounds or be imposed on others
who build playgrounds in Port Coquitlam – such as the school district and community groups – the
city encourages the use of the standards in all playgrounds built in the community.

“We’ve already been moving in this direction by adding accessible equipment and surfaces in our
new and renovated playgrounds,” said Cllr. Mike Forrest, chair of the Healthy Committee
Committee. “We wanted to show leadership in this area by formally adopting these standards, not
just complying with them voluntarily. It’s a strong message about how our city values people of all
abilities.”

Being wheelchair accessible is only one aspect of accessible playground design. The planning of
accessible playgrounds must also consider the needs of children with physical, cognitive, seeing
and hearing disabilities, as well as children with complex developmental behavioural conditions,
such as autism.

Accessible playgrounds include barrier-free equipment, increased maneuvering space, accessible
surfacing and paths, and the use of ramps to access elevated play components. While certain
elements can add to the size and cost of the playground, costs can be contained when they are
incorporated in the design stage.

Playgrounds can still contain elements such as slides and climbing structures, but emphasis will be
placed on ensuring children with disabilities are able to enjoy many of the play components. The
goal is for all children to be able to play on or around the accessible playground equipment, while
accommodating the play needs of children with disabilities and caregivers who may themselves
have disabilities.

For more information:

Todd Gross
Manager, Parks & Services
City of Port Coquitlam Parks & Recreation
tel.: 604-927-5428
e-mail: grosst@portcoquitlam.ca
www.portcoquitlam.ca

Water Play Is Fun For All – The Play and Playground News Center

It’s almost summer! It took a long time to get here this year, but it is finally here. For me, summer has always meant swimming, sprinklers, and sunbathing. I love water. A water exercise class has been the only exercise I have kept up with. I just love going to the pool and reading a book (with sunscreen on, of course), and then jumping in once I get too hot.

There are many reasons I love the water. It is probably the same reasons so many people love the water. Playing in water has restorative properties: it alleviates stress and helps to regulate emotions. Many of us take a long bath to relieve stress and take refreshing showers when we are overwhelmed. I get my most creative ideas when showering.

Read more at Water Play Is Fun For All – The Play and Playground News Center.

KaBOOM! playground builds all-inclusive playground

A playground for children designed by children.

More than 200 volunteers joined forces on Friday to build a new all-inclusive playground so that kids with and without disabilities can play together.

Mixing up concrete takes some sweat and hard work but volunteer Dan Weaver says it’s worth the price of the pain to help the kids.

“These kids aren’t just going to be able to roll up to the apparatus and watch other kids play, they will be able to get in there and play themselves and that’s fantastic,” says Weaver.

The goal of KaBOOM! and the McDonald’s Foundation, with the help of volunteers, is to build a handicapped accessible playground outside the Community Support Services building in record time

KaBOOM! playground built in Joplin – KOAM TV 7.

Children’s Treatment Centre opens accessible playground

A giant caterpillar, big bee and behemoth dragonfly are crawling with giggling children as officials spout the hows and who’s of a new fully accessible playground.

Unfazed, a half dozen children balance, climb, swing, slide and spiderweb their way through the nature-themed structures at the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent (CTCCK) Wednesday afternoon.

Best playground in C-K – bar none | Local | News | Chatham Daily News.

11th graders build playground for students with special ne – WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) –

A group of eleventh graders from Central High School spent their free time in a productive way.

On Friday, they finished building a playground for students with special needs at Phenix City Elementary School.

When this project began, the elementary school only had one handicapped swing, which was broken.

Now, the swing is fixed and two new swings were installed along with other accessible playground equipment.

Local 11th graders build playground for students with special ne – WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports.

Proposed Sensory Garden and Inclusive Playground undertakes fundraising

The Wheaton, IL Park District, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, Kiwanis Club of Wheaton, and the Forest Preserve of DuPage County have come together to create a new and unique Sensory Garden and Inclusive Playground.  They have big plans, which include:

  • A playground area
  • A sound and scent garden
  • Water play
  • A shelter and restroom building to accommodate extended visits.
  • An accessible baseball field, to allow children of all abilities to have the traditional ballfield experience

In order to build this the group is undertaking a variety of fundraising.  They are looking for corporations and individuals to sponsor specific section of the playspace.  They have put together a nice brochure explaining the sponsorship opportunities.

They had a spring bulb sale using Flower Power.

They partnered with a new business in town. Nothing Bundt Cakes celebrated their grand opening by donating 20% of their proceeds to the Sensory Garden project.  The planning group also used this opportunity as an informational event.  They had volunteers at the bakery throughout the opening weekend to answer questions about the playground and to generate excitement.

They have found on-line contests where they have engaged the community to vote for this project.  They tried for the Discover The Forest and Get Your Community Outdoors grant and while they did not win, they were able to generate additional community support.

Learn more about this project at their website and Like them on Facebook 

Share with us unique ways that you have raised funds for your playground!

Play Equipment for Special Needs Kids Unveiled | This is Alton

Brand new play equipment for youngsters with special needs has recently been installed in Alton’s Public Gardens, just in time for the Easter holidays.

The scheme forms the second phase of a refurbishment of the site, Alton Town Council’s busiest play ground. It includes a roundabout that can take wheelchairs and pushchairs, two swings with secure harnesses and a third swing (which requires a RADAR key to unlock it) that can accommodate a wheelchair-bound user.

It is believed that the swings are possibly a first for a public open space in Hampshire, whilst it is the second such roundabout for wheelchair users in Alton, the first having been installed by the Council in Anstey Park a few years ago.

Read rest of article: Play Equipment for Special Needs Kids Unveiled | This is Alton.

In 2012, Ireland opened its first inclusive playground

President Higgins also opened Ireland’s first special needs playground in Navan, County Meath recently, an adapted space specially designed for sensory exploration with full disabled access. The playground is named ‘Is Féidir Linn’ which translates from Gaelic as ‘We are able.’ Built at a cost of €45,000 the project would be easily replicated throughout the country given the cost is not significantly different from that of a standard modern playground.

 

The playground includes some very unique pieces of playground equipment as you can see in this video.  Pictures of the opening are available here.

San Ramon cuts ribbon on new universally accessible playground

The Athan Downs Playground Renovation Project is complete. The new playground is a Universally
Accessible Playground (UAP) design. The design offers variations of play equipment components
including swings, slides, platforms, climbing elements, and resilient surfacing with sound
pads. This type of design accommodates a wide range of physical abilities for children up to
twelve years old and features components and construction to allow total wheelchair access to
all the play structures. Construction was completed and the playground opened on schedule for
public use in December.

City officials held an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s new, universally accessible playground April 13. The 20-year-old play structure has been replaced with a design that offers full access to each piece of equipment for persons with disabilities as much of the previous structure was surrounded by sand and inaccessible.

The new playground features rubber surfacing as well as a series of different types of ramps that will be accessible by wheelchair. Athan Downs now has a raised sand-digging element so children in wheelchairs can play.

“Another element was providing elements for out of chair experiences, to include both tot swing and regular swings as well as chair swings,” said Jeff Gault, operations divisions manager for the public services department. “We also included elements of shade over some of the equipment…. and musical pads that go in the surfacing material so kids can stand on it, jump on it and make all kinds of sounds.”

New inclusive playground in San Ramon includes a Sway Fun Glider

Children’s book raises money for inclusive playground

ONE Park For ALL is a story of a little girl, her mother, and a town that decided to make a difference. This book is meant to teach!  It helps both children and adults understand the obstacles that some children encounter when they go to a park that is not all inclusive.

One of many projects for Hope Park Frisco has been this children’s book, One Park for All. Authored by Kristan Olfers and illustrated by Karen Dodson, the book serves several purposes.

It tells about the origins of the playground named Hope Park: “As with many great stories this one begins with a mother’s love for her child and her hope for a brighter future…” the book starts out.

It also explains in easy to understand terms the need for a playground that’s accessible to all children, highlighting some of the features useful to children with special needs.

Proceeds from the book go toward Hope Park, which will be built by the community in Frisco Commons park. Books are available online through Hope Park Frisco and Amazon.com.

A sample page of "One Park For All" to support an inclusive playground

 

Park Hope is  boundless in it’s design and will be like no other park in Frisco.   This park will be designed, paid for, and built by  — the community of Frisco.   It will include play areas for children with special needs.  It will have new and exciting play equipment not yet seen in any Frisco parks.  It will go beyond monkey bars, slides and simulated climbing rocks.  It will truly be an inclusive play adventure!  It is expected to open in Spring 2013.  The community will be building the playground through a week-long community build in the middle of April.

Conceptual drawing of Park Hope, an inclusive playground designed by Leathers and Associates