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7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design
7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®
Developed in partnership with Utah State University, Center for Persons with Disabilities, PlayCore offers a comprehensive design program for creating play environments for people of all ages and abilities and creating inclusive communities through play. The program defines 7 principles of inclusive playground design that strive to create a truly inclusive and embracing play experience to meet the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development.
7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design® is the only inclusive playground design program that takes the 7 Principles of Inclusive Design, first originated for commercial building, and tailors them specifically to the play environment. 7 Principles provides best practices for upgrading existing, or building new play environments that consider the needs of the whole child.
The program was developed to serve as an educational resource for communities that are planning, creating, or revitalizing outdoor play environments. Inclusive playgrounds make a fundamental statement about how communities value meaningful play experiences for people of all ages and abilities. The 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™ create universally designed play environments that increase the “playability” for people of diverse abilities, age, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status. Implementation of these best practice principles helps create a unique and meaningful play environment that is usable by more people, to the greatest extent possible.
The seven principles of Universal Design, originally created by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, have been uniquely tailored to what all children want to feel and experience during outdoor play. No two universally designed play environment projects are alike, but in all play environments, children want to “Be” and feel fair, included, smart, independent, safe, active, and comfortable during play. The 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design focus on the usage of individual play elements as well as the overall playground environmental design. Both a physical and social event, inclusive play is not solely about physically accessing an environment, but what happens once an individual gets there. A truly inclusive and embracing play experience addresses the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development.
For communities wishing to move playgrounds beyond minimum access and create more usable play environments. This guide provides guidelines that recognize everyone’s right to fully participate in equitable play. While access considers how to get children to the space, it doesn’t address ensuring they have opportunities to engage, nor does it address the full spectrum of people’s abilities. Inclusion isn’t about physical proximity; it embraces the mindfulness that other people may have a reality different from your own. It’s a way of thinking and making decisions so that everyone belongs. It’s about intentionally planning for the success of everyone. Environments designed with the guidelines intentionally address the physical and social inclusion of people of all ages and abilities. Rather than focus on disability, the program informs on how to celebrate ability, so that anyone who comes to the playground can play to the greatest extent possible.
Developed in Partnership with
By partnering with Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities becomes Institute for Disability Research, Policy, & Practice, PlayCore engaged with recognized scholars in the field of inclusion to ensure that communities have the tools to provide meaningful play opportunities for all.