PLAYGROUND & REBUILD
While we know that many of the playgrounds in Wareham need refurbishing or rebuilding, Wareham CORE decided to begin on one of the most used and most visible playgrounds.
Built 29 years ago, the playground is no longer as safe a place to play as it once was. The pressure treated wood has begun to deteriorate causing splintering and rough surfaces. In addition, the current playground is not inclusive; it does not provide play equipment for children with disabilities.
In Fall of 2016, professional playground designers from Play by Design worked with Wareham school students to understand exactly what our children would like to see in a playground. On October 6 in the cafeteria of Minot Forest Elementary School, approximately 200 students, parents and interested citizens attended a formal unveiling of the plans. The plans provide playground elements that are for all children of all types of abilities.
This is a “Community Build” project which will depend heavily on voluntary contributions of labor and resources for its completion.
are important because ...
PLAY IS LEARNING. Play is a critical part of physical, mental/emotional, and social development for children regardless of their abilities.
PHYSICAL -- Children of all levels of ability who play show the benefits of physical activity. They are healthier, have higher self-esteem, and are better prepared to learn.
Climbing, Swinging, Playing on Overhead Equipment, Spinning, Playing ball games and Free Play help children develop important skills. Fine and gross motor skills, such as gripping a bar or chain, pumping legs, swinging from one bar to the next are developed with even simple playground activities. Children learn balance and coordination, and activity burns calories that will help prevent childhood weight problems. Cardiovascular strength is a plus for children of all ages and abilities. Our inclusive playground will provide play activities with specially designed equipment.
SOCIAL -- Playgrounds provide an opportunity for children to practice their social skills, to come up with solutions to problems, and to learn self-control and tolerance in working out their conflicts. Children learn to share, take turns, play make-believe alone or with others, learn rules, take direction from other adults, and meet and play with others their age.
Inclusive playgrounds add the extra element of providing the valuable lesson that everyone has similarities and differences. Diversity and acceptance are crucial social tenets that can be easily learned on the playground.
MENTAL/EMOTIONAL -- On the playground, children can be exposed to a variety of challenges that may bring up emotions. Playgrounds are exciting places where children are running, shouting, swinging, spinning, sliding, etc. There may be times when children are faced with a challenge which makes them angry or scared such as fighting over which child goes first or climbing too high. These positive and negative emotions can also be better regulated through play. This type of play activates the parts of the higher brain which regulate emotions and helps children to manage their feelings better.
CHILDREN JUST NEED TO HAVE FUN! There are many logical reasons for going to the local playground. But the best one is that playgrounds are fun places to be!! Children are free, engaged in the moment, and on their way to growing into happy adults. You can’t ask for better than that!
DON’T FORGET THE PARENTS/CAREGIVERS. Playgrounds are a great place to meet other parents, grandparents, caregivers, etc. It is a place to share child-rearing tips, outgrown toys or clothes, or to just share the joy of watching the children on the playground. And it is always great to have an extra pair of eyes watching children when they are at free play!