For developing children, play is learning. They learn to solve problems, make decisions, persevere, and interact with the people and objects in the environment. They develop language, symbolic thinking, social skills, and motor skills. Many studies show the benefits of physical activity for children is that they are healthier, have higher self-esteem and are better prepared to learn. Playgrounds are an ideal environment for supporting overall healthy development.
Active play is just as important for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities are at a higher risk of social isolation. When play with peers is limited, the ability to learn and develop the skills and attitudes of accomplishment associated with play are also restricted.
Studies show that peer interaction between people with and without disabilities is enhanced when there are opportunities to interact with peers without disabilities. Simply stated, able-bodied children will engage in play with children with disabilities if they can do it together in an accepting environment.
An inclusive playground provides access, promotes inclusive play between children of all abilities, and develops the whole community, whole environment, and whole child- across all developmental fields. When we can offer children and their families with an inclusive play space that promotes playing together more independently, children feel respected, encouraged, and active during play.
Our goal is to see inclusive play spaces throughout every community, so that one day no one will ever know that there was a difference between an average playground and an all-inclusive playground.