Newcastle Public School: A Playground EVERYONE Can Enjoy!!
Newcastle Public School Families
Newcastle Public School
October 7, 2012
Overview:Newcastle Public School is in need of new playground equipment. People who live in Newcastle will tell you we live in a small town with a big heart. Our town takes pride in our history of helping each other in times of need but now we are faced with a situation where we need more help than we can get on our own! At this time, our school community is faced with the great challenge of creating updated playground areas that embody the spirit of inclusiveness that our children already show in class - playgrounds that incorporate ways to allow all of our students to play together, including those with special needs and different abilities.
The Regional Municipality of Durham’s Health Department recently conducted an inspection of our playground equipment and determined that we have several critical items that are health hazards and several non-critical items which may be health hazards and are known to contribute to injuries. While we determine our next steps, we have closed the playground equipment as these hazards must be addressed before students are allowed to play once again on the existing structures.
In consultation with the manufacturer of the equipment, we have determined that the playground equipment is beyond its life expectancy and it’s no longer cost effective to repair the equipment. Due to the age of the structures, the necessary parts are no longer manufactured.
While our most cost effective option over the long term is to replace the existing playground structures, this is a very expensive step. The school board does not provide playground equipment for schools so we must rely on donations, community supports, grants and fundraising in order to replace it.
Playground equipment allows for active play for children in order to expend their energy. This allows them to concentrate in school. In addition, we have many children with special needs at our school so any future proposed playground equipment will need to be fully inclusive. With the rise in numbers of children with ADD, ADHD and Autism in schools, fully inclusive equipment will need to address these specific needs through special features. For example, our vision includes a “cocoon” for children with Autism so they may enjoy a quiet space. We also envision a surface that is wheelchair accessible and safe for children who use canes or crutches. Our proposed surface is soft, spongy, safe for falls, smooth in texture and has the following benefits: guaranteed to last, vandal proof, no yearly maintenance, easy to clean if necessary and available in a variety of colours to help children who are visually impaired. This inclusive dream proposal makes the structure rather costly.
We have nearly 600 children at our school, 160 in kindergarten alone, and many with a variety of special needs. Our vision of new playground equipment will help our children to get valuable physical activity each day, it will help us to teach our children to play respectfully alongside each other and it will help children with special needs feel fully included in all school activities. Children with disabilities face challenges every day. Accessing the same playground equipment as their friends should not be one of those challenges. Through this shared vision, we hope to encourage imagination, integration, active bodies, healthy lifestyles and safe play.
Please help us, won’t you, by supporting our vision! It is indeed a very worthy cause – the health and well-being of our future generation!