All-access play at the new Norma Rose Point Elementary

We all know that play is essential to healthy development, and that kids learn to move, socialize, and integrate with their community on the playground.

Many of today’s playgrounds, including those at UBC, are built using woodchips, which are great in many respects, but can in fact limit the mobility of some kids – such as those who move with walkers or wheelchairs. In UBC’s communities and schools, we strive to be as accessible as we possibly can be. It’s a part of our ethos of inclusiveness.

At the new Norma Rose Point Elementary, the local Parent Advisory Comittee (PAC) is currently in the midst of a push to build a fully accessible playground. The new design includes a smooth rubberized floor that will welcome all kids, regardless of mobility or other impediments.

The PAC recognized the need for accessible playgrounds recently, in response to concerns from a parent whose child’s walker prevented her from enjoying local playgrounds. Support for a playground that allowed for all kids was universal.

The group derived the design for the new play area very democratically, with kids voting on the best design. Habitat, a local firm known for their commitment to accessibility, will carry out the final design.

As playground areas are not funded by the Province or the municipal schoolboard, these initiatives fall to the PAC. They definitely depend on our help: while $50,000 has already been raised, the project goal calls for another $150,000.

So how can we pitch in? Well, a number of upcoming fundraising efforts include bakes sales, movie nights, cheese and wine tasting, a silent auction, and others. (And for corporate donors looking for a good cause, all donations are tax deductible of course). Larger donors will be acknowledged in the structures themselves, and at a grand opening event in September, 2014.

Want to learn more? Feel free to visit the PAC website at http://pacpage.ca/nrp/index.php?7