On the 30 of June there will be another meeting of the “SamenSpeelNetwerk“. The theme of the day is “The sense and nonsense of playground equipment fo rinclusive playr”. A tantalising theme, worthy of a House of Commons debate!
In the coming weeks I am going to explore the subject a little.
I recently had the privilage of visiting Inclusion Matters in Los Angeles, USA. Public playgrounds in LA consist of play equipment with rubber surfaces, greenery is the decor. There are no public green playgrounds without playground equipment. The focus there is very much on playground equipment as a means of promoting inclusive play and play for children with disabilities. A great place to start my exploration.
Take the rollerslide for example. You can find it on every inclusive playground in LA. In the Netherlands, you see them mainly in indoor playgrounds. What makes this slide such a must on an inclusive playground? Rollerslide – PlayBooster® – Landscape Structures – YouTube
To find out, I first tried the slide of course. It is a special feeling, you are being shaken up, the slide rattles a bit, while sliding you automatically say euhhrrhhh and your buttocks get a free massage. A lot of stimuli! And that is what it appears to be all about.
Almost all children like to slide down it or sit under the slide and listen and feel when other children slide.
What makes this slide so irresistible and inclusive?
Looking through the SamenSpeelBril I see the following:
Accessible: The roller slide in LA is always part of a larger play object. The object is always on a surface that is easy to drive on and the slide can be reached by anyone, including visitors with a wheelchair, via a platform. There is enough space to lift a child from the wheelchair onto the slide.
Playable: The roller slide gives children who play with it (whether they slide, play next to it or underneath it) a multi sensory experience, both tactile and vestibular (balance/orientation) and auditory. The slide does not go too fast. Sliders are not launched at the end. Parents/caregivers can slide along with the child or support them while sliding.
Encourage inclusive play: Sliding is more fun with two. “What happens when I slide and you are under it?” The slide also provides play opportunities when not sliding; feeling, listening, experimenting.
Conclusion: the rollerslide, if placed in such a way that everyone can reach it and also play under it, seems to be a wonderful piece of equipment to stimulate encounter and playing together.
In short, this playground equipment makes sense.
Can someone tell me why this rollerslide can hardly be found on Dutch playgrounds?