The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University
 

Developmental Playground in Action

Aug 22, 2012
a boy plays in the water at the playground
A mother and child walk on playground

By Connie Pehrson

If you want to see some kids having a blast, you've got to come and visit the CPD's Developmental Playground in action!

Dedicated in October 2011 during a snowstorm, it was a few weeks before the kids could really try out all of the new playground equipment.  Since then, a few more structures have been added:  Big Blue's Barn (a storage shed), benches for kids and adults to rest on, and colorful umbrellas to create shade on hot sunny days.

On certain days, the playground is bursting with little kids trying out all of the fun play equipment; from the playhouse on top of the hill, to the xylophone, the sand box, and the swings.  Many of the children love to walk through the tall grassy paths and jump on the rocks.  Smiles and laughter, and yes, even a few squeals of delight fill the playground.   

Children in the Lil’ Aggies and ABC classrooms in the Up to 3 Early Intervention Program are regulars, and they’re not just out there having fun, like it appears.  The playground activities and equipment were chosen with great care to give these kids chances to gain and practice developmental skills.

This is a therapeutic playground, designed to build up skills in the guise of having fun.  And it’s working. 

umbrellas on the playground
A boy plays in the sand

The ABC classroom is a parent-training class and parents are encouraged to play right along with their children, helping them to make choices and learn new skills. One of the great things that the ABC parents say is that they are learning ideas that they can incorporate when they take their kids to local playgrounds. It is hard to tell who is having more fun, the children or the parents.

Because of the success the playground has had with the Up to 3 children, other child programs have been invited to use it.  The Child Development Lab on campus is another program for young children that is devoted to the development of skills in the children it serves.  They strive to provide their children with a wide variety of stimulating, multi-sensory activities that give opportunities for discovery and making choices, and interacting socially with other children. 

It is a perfect match for the Developmental Playground.

 

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