PlayCore, the leading company in play and recreation research, programming, and products, is proud to announce a recent Inclusion National Demonstration Site designation to a new playground at Mattie McCullough Elementary School in Red Deer, AB, Canada. The new site, Rotary Access for All Barrier-Free Playscape, was awarded this prestigious designation for creating a play space for children of all abilities. To celebrate, a grand opening will be held on September 9, at 11 a.m. at 26 Lawford Ave, Red Deer, AB T4R 3L6.
“This playground is more than just equipment, said Kim Kirkwood, Vice Principal at Mattie McCullough Elementary School. “It’s freedom for everyone no matter their mobility levels, to play without barriers with each other. It’s a gathering place for families and communities to get to know each other and where imaginations can bloom.”
After students at Mattie McCullough realized that some children had difficulty accessing the existing playground, they wrote letters to the school expressing the need to have a place where everyone could play together.
“Our kids were the driving force,” said Kim Kirkwood.
As a result, the community came together with a goal of creating a truly inclusive play environment that would exceed minimum accessibility requirements.
To bring this project to life, a number or organizations joined to raise funds, including the Rotary Club of Red Deer, Rotaract, and the City of Red Deer. Additional contributions were made by community members, staff and parents, the Alberta Lottery, the Rick Hansen Foundation, and the Canada 150 Fund.
Following the fundraising efforts, the community partnered with GameTime playground agency, Park N Play Design to design the space.
The playground’s design is focused around the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®, as outlined in Me2®, a program developed in partnership with PlayCore and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.
As mentioned in Me2®, “Thoughtfully planned inclusive outdoor play environments can create opportunities to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can be both physically and socially active through play and recreation.”
Kim Kirkwood noted, “This playground represents what can happen when people in a community, who have shared a vision, come together to create something truly barrier-free and accessible for all.”
As a National Demonstration Site, Rotary Access for All Barrier-Free Playscape will receive a certificate of recognition, become a part of a national registry located at www.pointsmap.com/playcore, and be promoted actively to other communities wishing to create recreation spaces that utilize best practices in design and/or programming.