Lancaster County’s Warwick School District recently added accessible playground equipment for its elementary age students, ensuring all their students have a safe place to play. Other schools, parks, or community partners might want to consider the addition of accessible playground equipment, but where do they start?
Sadia Batool, Family Lead for the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Grant, spoke with representatives from the school district for advice as to how others might pursue creating an accessible playground. Here’s the process Warwick School District followed.
Identifying the Needs and Doing Research
A Physical Therapist brought to an elementary principal ideas for playground equipment to encourage play for all. Equipment was researched based on student needs in those elementary buildings (Warwick School District operates special programs at all four elementary schools and wanted to be mindful of all students at those campuses) and actual school campus/playground area limitations. The proposal started at the Elementary Principal’s meeting where it was discussed, and advocacy continued to expand for this project including all Principals and the Superintendent.
The Principal & Assistant Superintendent reviewed potential funding sources including Medical Access funds for the equipment costs and the Education Foundation for support with installation. Luckily everything aligned with the priorities of those funding streams.
Getting Additional Involvement
The Principal presented to the Buildings & Grounds Committee to review potential snags with placement, safety and maintenance. This involvement was very helpful and supportive for longevity of the project and for specific site locations at each elementary school.
Proposals and Contracts
The Proposals and contracts were finalized. The Principal & Assistant Superintendent reviewed contracts with all parties (Buildings & Grounds Committee and Education Foundation).
Once all approvals were secured, installation was scheduled. Installation completed and students began to have fun!
The Warwick School District used the company General Recreation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a few schedule delays with meetings/approvals, this process took three years and many advocates to move from a great idea to project installation.
Looking for your next steps? Try starting with the Inclusive Playground website. You can find information on grant resources, inclusive play products, and other resources.
Thank you to the representatives of the Warwick School District for their support of inclusive play and sharing their knowledge and experience.
- Dr. April Hershey, Superintendent
- Dr. Melanie Calender, Assistant Superintendent
- Dr. Tanya Myers, Physical Therapist
- Jackie Yanchocik, Public Relations Coordinator