WHY IS INCLUSIVE PLAY SO IMPORTANT?
By connecting children through inclusive play, children of all abilities develop social skills and an increased sense of empathy, which promotes unity and sets a solid foundation to build a more accepting community and brighter future for all of our families. Meaningful, inclusive play provides physical, cognitive, social and emotional development benefits, which is extremely important to continually develop in school age children.
Most school playgrounds and parks are designed and cater to children with no disabilities. Inclusive playgrounds are specifically designed to remove barriers and promote social and physical inclusion where everyone can play together. These inclusive environments allow children of all abilities to develop independence, feel included and partake in a meaningful play (and learning!) experience.
Not all disabilities are visible. Various types of disabilities exist in school age children including physical, sensory, social-emotional, cognitive and more.
According to research, 53% of children with special needs lack friendships and part of the problem is that their disability excludes them from certain activities. An inclusive playground design has no barriers. It allows all children to get to know each other while enjoying rewarding play and fitness activities.
It's also important for children to practice their sensory and cognitive skills outside of the classroom. Inclusive playgrounds at schools provide a unique opportunity for children to exercise their minds. Unstructured outdoor play helps kids learn how to share, take turns and develop other healthy behavioral skills.
Our goal of providing access to an inclusive play experience for all children at Eisenhower Elementary includes four main objectives:
Build Lasting Friendships
Access for All
Include Every Eisenhower Eagle
SEVEN PRINCIPALS OF INCLUSIVE PLAY DESIGN
We designed our #EveryEagle Playgrounds based on these inclusive play principals.
1. Be Fair
Create Equitable Opportunities
2. Be Included
3. Be Smart
Simple and Intuitive Design
Reinforce Play Patterns
Set Clear Expectations
4. Be Independent
Accessible Routes of Travel
5. Be Safe
Safety Standards and Comfort Areas
Comfortable Supervision Areas
6. Be Active
Accommodate Diverse Needs
Sustained Physical Activity
7. Be Comfortable
Space for Movement and Gathering
Comfortable for Diverse Sensory Needs
Comfortable Approach and Reach