Inclusive Play: Teamwork On and Off the Playground
More and more communities are recognizing the importance of accessible, inclusive play for children of all abilities, including one community in Montgomery Township PA that brought in General Recreation experts to help them plan a vibrant, inclusive playground.
General Recreation worked with Christopher Green, Senior Landscape Architect at Gilmore & Associates, to complete an expansive playground for 2 to 12-year-olds.
Both companies have teamed up on various projects over the past 15 years.
“It’s great to work with Chris,” says Garry Helmuth, Gen Rec playground consultant. “His firm is respected and recognized across the region for their park and playground design work.
The Montgomery Township playground was Gilmore & Associates’ first fully inclusive playground project.
“Our vision was a ‘destination’ playground, which I believe we accomplished,” Green said.
The design had a wide range of activities to accommodate children with a variety of developmental needs. There was a flat, wide-open space, making it easy to include a variety of play structures and it made installation easier.
The focal point was a large play structure with accessible ramps, interactive panels, slides, and climbers.
Along the perimeter were several types of swings. Some are molded bucket seat swings, which provide better stability for children with limited upper body strength.
The equipment, shade structures, and poured-in-place safety surfacing have an inviting, cheerful color palette of bright blue, lime green, warm yellow, and orange.
Children who use wheelchairs or walkers can access the main play structure and freestanding activities, like the OmniSpin spinner or the We-sawTM.
Both are unique takes on the traditional playground pieces, but with an opportunity for more collaboration and teamwork.
The Cozy Dome does double duty as a climber on top and a cozy retreat on the inside.
Children with autism or sensory processing disorders may have challenges with socialization, communication, and imagination. A large sensory play center with interactive panels can provide a play experience that’s “just right.”
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