South Beach Playground in Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland was designed to ensure children of all ages and abilities can play side-by-side.
Following more than two years of fundraising, research and consultations by a dedicated Playground Committee, a fantastic all-inclusive play facility which includes a musical den full of Percussion Play instruments was built to bring magic and fun to children of all ages and abilities.
The Committee envisioned a playground that is inclusive for all children, where they can meet, play, interact and have fun. They wanted all children to have access to a playground that not only stimulates their imaginations and all their senses but also encourages self-learning and promotes emotional and physical wellbeing regardless of their abilities.
Percussion Play reseller All Play Ireland was awarded the tender which specifically stated that the winning design “should include equipment that offers play opportunities to children with an array of additional needs. For example, children on the Autism Spectrum, children with mobility issues who require the use of wheelchair or other mobility aids, hearing and visually impairment children and children with motor coordination difficulties such as Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia.”
The project team worked closely with professionals who were knowledgeable about different areas of child development and differing abilities. Surfacing, seating, socialisation opportunities, play equipment, everything was assessed for play value and accessibility.
As well as a contribution of €150,000 – over half the budget – from Wicklow County Council, donations were received from various community groups, a big Wall of Thanks, a Kindometer as well as a €70,000 donation from an anonymous donor.
For the committee behind this project the main aim of the €250,000, state-of-the-art playground was to make it all-inclusive. On the opening day the Irish Times billed South Beach Playground as one of Ireland’s most inclusive playgrounds.
The playground design considers both physical and sensory disabilities as well as additional needs of children on the autism spectrum and those with motor coordination difficulties. Today the community has a playground that meets the needs of every child whilst playing side by side.
The musical area consists of a Papilio, Cavatina, Congas, Tubular Bells and Cajon. The instruments will allow everyone from children to adults to express themselves and communicate together through the magic of music. Other features include a cosy cocoon, a sensory path with all different materials which allows children to walk or wheel along and feel different textures, a swing that houses a wheelchair, a large-scale see-saw that has enough room to sit or lie on, sandpits, climbing frames, tube slides and zip lines.
Niamh Egan, chair of the parent’s group, stated parents in the South Beach committee had put their “hearts and souls into making the playground a special place for our community” and all that hard work has paid off.