Over the past weeks, several classrooms from the Del Mar, Green Acres, Live Oak and Valencia Elementary schools participated in learning about inclusive play and submitting their ideas for the playground.
With their teachers’ permission, we’ve put a few up here so you can have an idea of their creativity.
A big thanks to Mariah Roberts of Chanticleer Park Neighbors, for facilitating this learning opportunity. It was so fun watching the children’s eyes light up with excitement when they learned about the playground to be built in their neighborhood. One child immediately asked their teacher when they could go on a field trip so they could play there.
Kids truly are the best ones to determine their play needs. Some suggested quiet spaces to play. Others wanted super tunnels and twisty slides. Astute individuals mentioned benches and shaded spots for their parents to sit in comfort while watching the kids play.
The Del Mar, Green Acres, and Live Oak schools were chosen because of their proximity to Chanticleer Park and the planned playground area. Valencia was chosen because it currently has the only inclusively designed playground in the Santa Cruz area albeit within a school setting. The Valencia playground was built through the efforts of Kim DeSerpa. Kim became inspired to fundraise and build the Valencia playground because her dear friend, Deardra Cline had a daughter, Madelyn, who attended Valencia and used a wheelchair. Kim and Deardra were determined Madelyn and all the other Valencia children with special needs should have a playground where they could play with their friends without barriers. Thanks to their vision, Valencia Sea Stars have been enjoying access to play for all years before inclusive playground design became more well known.
A collection of the children’s drawings were scanned into an online ebook for the architects and community to view for inspiration as the design plans move forward.