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THE GOOD PLAY SPACE GUIDE:

By Jeanne Hall,2014-07-05 11:52
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THE PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDE IS TO EXAMINE THE REASONS WHY PLAY SPACES CAN LIMIT ACCESS TO SOME CHILDREN AND IDENTIFY HOW IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE TO INCREASE ...

    Microsoft Word version

    Sport and Recreation Victoria

    The Good Play Space Guide:

“I can play too”

    Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Victoria

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Box

    Word Version

    This document is a Microsoft Word Version of the Department for Victorian Communities‟ The Good Play Space Guide: “I can play too”.

    It has been produced to facilitate access to the document by people who use screen-reader software or who wish to enlarge the text on their computer screen.

    The printed publication contains various photographs, captions and design features that have been necessarily omitted from this version.

    In other respects this document contains identical text to that in the printed document.

Published by the Department for Victorian Communities

March 2007

    ? State Government of Victoria, Department for Victorian Communities, 2007

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Contents

    About this Guide ............................................................................................... 5

    Planning for Accessible Play ............................................................................. 6 1. The benefits of play ....................................................................................... 7 1.1 Types of play .......................................................................................... 7 1.2 Play and ability........................................................................................ 9 1.3 Playing with other children ...................................................................... 10 1.4 Why provide play spaces? ...................................................................... 10

    2. Providing quality play spaces ........................................................................ 11 2.1 Elements of play spaces ......................................................................... 12 2.2 Access and inclusion .............................................................................. 12 2.3 Safety ..................................................................................................... 14

    3. Planning and upgrading play spaces ............................................................ 17 3.1 The value of planning ............................................................................. 17 3.2 Providing diverse play spaces ................................................................ 18 3.3 Establishing a vision for a play space ..................................................... 19 3.4 Deciding on the degree of accessibility, inclusion and participation ........ 20

    3.5 Design stages ......................................................................................... 21 3.6 Modifying existing play spaces for accessibility ...................................... 23 3.7 Consulting residents and stakeholders ................................................... 25 3.8 Management of play spaces ................................................................... 27

    Design Issues and Solutions ............................................................................. 29 4. Play behaviour and play spaces: effective design for maximum

     participation................................................................................................... 30 4.1 Mastering particular skills or challenges ................................................. 31 4.2 Physical activity and movement .............................................................. 32 4.3 Supporting physical activity and movement for all children ..................... 35

    4.4 Sensory play ........................................................................................... 41 4.5 The physical environment as a „prop‟ for play ......................................... 42

    4.6 Designing for participation, social play and interaction ........................... 47

    5. Design ideas based on the nature of ability .................................................. 50 5.1 Including children with vision, hearing or other sensory impairments ..... 50

    5.2 Including children with a range of intellectual and cognitive abilities....... 52

    5.3 Including children with a range of physical abilities................................. 53

    6. Accessible paths of travel ............................................................................. 58 6.1 Paths ...................................................................................................... 58

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    6.2 Ramps .................................................................................................... 59

    7. Surfaces and fences ..................................................................................... 61 7.1 Loose surfaces ....................................................................................... 61 7.2 Synthetic surfaces .................................................................................. 62 7.3 Fences or barriers ................................................................................... 63

    8. Including parents and carers ......................................................................... 65 8.1 Neighbourhood paths ............................................................................. 65 8.2 Proximity to public transport.................................................................... 66 8.3 Car parking ............................................................................................. 66 8.4 Arriving by bus ........................................................................................ 66 8.5 Amenities ................................................................................................ 67

    Attachment 1. Legislation, policy and standards ............................................... 69 Federal and State legislation ........................................................................ 69 Victorian policy context ................................................................................. 71 Australian Standards .................................................................................... 72

    Attachment 2. Consultation ............................................................................... 74

    Attachment 3. Acknowledgments ...................................................................... 75

    Web resources .................................................................................................. 77

    References ....................................................................................................... 78

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About this Guide

    The Good Play Space Guide is about play and its benefits for everyone.

    Many children and adults who have a disability are not able to use public play spaces for a variety of reasons.

    The purpose of this guide is to examine the reasons why play spaces can limit access to some children and identify how improvements can be made to increase participation by all children in play.

    This guide helps providers meet the needs of parents and children through the planning, design and management of accessible play spaces.

    It is intended primarily for providers of public play spaces, and is largely aimed at local government, although some information may be helpful to providers of supervised spaces, schools and early childhood centres.

The guide aims to:

    ; outline the benefits of play for all children, and discuss the general characteristics of quality play spaces;

    ; investigate the subject of access, inclusion and participation in play for people with a disability, in public play spaces;

    ; demonstrate what makes a play space accessible, and what improvements might be achievable; and

    ; provide guidance on how to develop accessible public play spaces.

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Planning for Accessible Play

1. The benefits of play

    All children need to play. All children have the right to play. When children play they are not just filling in time, they are learning to interpret their world.

    Play facilitates the learning of life skills, and for this reason, the provision of quality outdoor play spaces is vitally important in local communities.

    Through play children develop the qualities necessary in adulthood, such as:

; problem solving;

; independence;

; self awareness;

; creativity;

; resilience;

; spatial knowledge; and

; flexibility and ability to deal with change.

    Play is a vehicle for self-expression and social interaction. It is often described as active, spontaneous, free, self-generating, purposeful, voluntary, fun, exploratory, and intrinsically motivated.

    Play provides important motivation for children to become active, engage with others, extend themselves and adapt

    and learn skills.

    There are many physical, social, cognitive and emotional benefits which accrue from play, and these are just as significant to a child with a disability as they are to all children.

    Play is a critical part of growth and learning, and provides the opportunity for a child to reach their individual potential.

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1.1 Types of play

    Play is discussed in this guide according to developmental areas. This approach is chosen to highlight the many ways play contributes to children‟s development.

    In terms of accessibility, it is important to recognise that children with disabilities may vary significantly developmentally from children of the same chronological age. Also, children with disabilities may be very capable with respect to some developmental areas and not so capable in other areas. A typical approach to categorising play according to developmental areas is:

    ; physical or active play: all kinds of physical movement and motion including

    climbing, balancing, hanging, running, swinging, and rocking.

; cognitive play: using the imagination, ordering, categorising and

    manipulating objects to construct or create, sensory experience, and problem

    solving.

    ; social play: experiences which involve another child or a group of children,

    often involving games of the imagination, dramatic role play, rules, and

    creative or physical activity.

    While a developmental approach is used in this document, it is useful to note that play may also be categorised according to the following criteria:

; the materials/equipment used (e.g. waterplay, sand play);

    ; the social aspects of play (e.g. solitary, associative, cooperative);

; the setting of play (e.g. indoor or outdoor); and

     i; symbolic aspects of play (e.g. imaginative, dramatic play).

    Agencies responsible for play spaces should remember that play has many dimensions. Play is not only physical, and play spaces are usually only the means to an end for children who use imagination and a range of other skills to create their own „play experience‟.

    This is particularly important for encouraging participation by children with a disability, because while some children may not be able to swing from monkey bars, they may be able to participate in games of the imagination, role play or with creative elements.

    For more information about how to design for different types of play see Section 4: Play behaviour and play spaces: effective design for maximum participation.

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1.2 Play and ability

    Play behaviour is not restricted to children who can speak, run or hold a bat. However, children who are able to play independently clearly have an advantage.

For some children with a disability, life is tainted with experiences of isolation, iiloneliness and exclusion. These experiences are sometimes the result of

    a poorly designed environment, attitudes which reinforce difference and by specific impairments and how these limit learning and independent participation. Children with a disability may have more difficulty in being able to:

; communicate with other players;

; engage in play for long periods;

; be spontaneous;

; draw on all senses to learn;

; physically do many activities;

; develop the skills to join in games;

; play with other children without adult supervision; and

; access nature, and the multi-sensory stimulation it provides.

    Usually a child is a key agent in his or her own development, using the physical and social environment as a way of exploring, discovering, testing and initiating. For children with a physical, intellectual or sensory impairment, opportunities for learning may be constrained. Timing is critical. There is a significant window of opportunity for children to develop in the early years. Therefore it is most important to provide opportunities to promote development as early as possible.

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1.3 Playing with other children

    Playing with other children (or being with other children at play), can provide major benefits for all children. These include:

; modelling behaviour;

; a sense of social belonging;

; enjoying laughter and fun; and

; developing the skills necessary to play.

    For children with a disability, these benefits are especially significant because they enable the development of other skills and encourage further activity.

    If children with a disability are able to participate in play with other children, all participants can develop an understanding of the full spectrum of human abilities. These experiences powerfully shape children‟s tolerance to difference, especially iiiwhen positively interpreted by adults.

    Opportunities to play independently and without the presence of an adult can be rare for children with a disability, but are no less important for them.

    An accessible, inclusive environment makes it safer and more feasible for children to assist another child, reducing the need for adults to be constantly present.

1.4 Why provide play spaces?

    Local government provides play spaces because the community values the benefits which come from play and recreation.

    Councils and other organisations also recognise that in increasingly urban environments children‟s access to free play are rapidly shrinking.

    There is also growing concern in the wider community about childhood obesity and other health and social issues. As play is integral to growth and learning for human development, providing play spaces assists children to fulfill their potential as individuals.

    For many children, designed environments are their main opportunity for outdoor play. This provides an increased responsibility for local government to ensure they provide supportive play spaces which reflect the needs of all children.

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2. Providing quality play spaces

    There are three essential factors which determine successful public play spaces:

; play value;

; accessibility/inclusion; and

; safety.

    A play space is more likely to be successful if all three factors are considered together. Through use of materials, structures and the environment, children gain more value from their surroundings.

Quality play spaces offer:

    ; an accessible environment which supports inclusion and participation;

    ; choices in the types of activities that interest children of a range of ages and

    developmental stages;

    ; cognitive and imaginative play opportunities as well as physically active play;

; opportunities for people to meet and play together;

; sensory qualities which provide interest to children;

    ; a comfortable physical environment (shade, possibly shelter, winter sun);

; risk and challenge, as well as a reasonable degree of safety;

    ; a combination of built and natural elements (i.e. cubbies amongst vegetation,

    sand, logs), and spatial qualities which enhance activities (i.e. partial

    enclosure, or a sense of elevation);

    ; a balance between fast and slow; light and shade, loose materials and fixed

    equipment, noisy and quiet spaces, smoothness and texture, enclosed and

    open spaces, opportunities to move up and down; and

; amenities which are easy and comfortable to use.

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