Play for ALL children, of ALL abilities, on ONE playground

Over the past couple of years, the Emerson PTO has been considering the possibility of updating our existing playground and gardens. Thanks to successful fundraising and planning, the PTO was in a position to set aside $5000, as initial seed money for this ambitious, multi-year project. This set aside was passed as part of the 2013-14 budget.

A group of parents began working on this project, including consultation with the District's Division of Building Services and Gerber Leisure (the District's playground equipment vendor).

What started as a conversation about possibly adding one new piece of playground equipment, grew into the larger goal of creating an inclusive space of play for ALL children, of ALL abilities, on ONE playground.

Through previous discussions, meetings, and surveys of students and staff, some issues, needs, and priorities have been identified:

• Inclusive play (a space that meets the developmental needs and interests of all children, regardless of ability, and allows for them to play side-by-side) with connecting landscaping and paths between structures;

• The new stage and the play structure nearer the building will stay;

• Provide a new shed to replace the storage lost in the 2013 remodel;

• Create additional opportunities for shade/protection from the sun;

• To the extent possible, poor drainage in the field and the former Dayton St pavement will be addressed;

• The gardens and open field space (for soccer, football, etc.) are elements that will be preserved and possibly enhanced; and

• The student feedback to date shows a strong preference for climbing structures – e.g., climbing wall, jungle gym – and for swings.

In addition to ongoing stakeholder engagement and working group meetings, additional staff input is being gathered March and April, 2014, and the groundwork is being laid for fundraising efforts starting late Spring or early Summer, 2014. The objective for 2014 is to have a multi-year plan completed and an initial new structure installed during the 2014-2015 school year. Being a multi-year effort, the following years will bring additional improvements and installations.

We are very excited about this project! We know that this is a big goal that will require a lot of support (finanical and otherwise) from within and outside of the Emerson community. But, we are confident that working together we can make this a reality. If you would like to get involved or have questions or comments, please contact us at: We look forward to hearing from you!

#playground #playforall

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