When a playground has only typical slides and climbers, it can limit inclusion. Climbers and slides are prescriptive, meaning they tell the child how to play on them: “climb up the ladder this way and then go down the slide.”
When the equipment tells children exactly how we want them to play, it limits the fun to one group of children—the ones for which the equipment was specifically developed. For instance, a simple ladder climber is designed for early school-aged children. Younger children with motor issues and older, more developed children are not going to play on this climber. By design, it‘s segregating instead of including.
This year, Playworld Systems has once again developed new pieces of equipment that invite children to play any way their imagination leads them. One example is Rushmore, which enables children to:
Some aspects of Rushmore take a great deal of motor planning, while others invite children who are just beginning their motor skills journey to take part as well. Rushmore brings children of all ages and abilities together. Each child can approach and conqueror it in their own way.
Rushmore encourages children to play together, to create stories and games, and to challenge one another. There is even a cozy space underneath the equipment where children can have a more solitary experience.
Your first thought when looking at Rushmore may be that there is no way that this complicated piece of equipment is an inclusive product. But when you watch children play on it, you begin to see how the design promotes inclusion.
How would you play on Rushmore?