Using Playgrounds to Change a Kid’s View

by Jen Lee Reeves on December 4, 2015 · 1 comment

in Playground

playgroundEvery once and a while, Jordan meets a little girl or boy who is frightened of her arm. They have never seen any person with a physical difference and it frightens them. When Jordan was little, these kids would make her really upset. Watching someone cry over your physical appearance is really hard. Now that she’s older, we are able to put it into perspective: Some kids do not see differences in their lives. Their families haven’t introduced the concept that people are different and that’s very sad. Instead of feeling upset and angry, I am teaching Jordan to feel sad and hope that child will be able to learn from Jordan. If the child doesn’t learn, then we’ll be sad that he or she grows up missing a huge important piece of life… Each of us is different. When we understand those differences, we can all understand each other a little better.

In a time where there is so much divisiveness, wouldn’t it be incredible if we could all help our children grow up with a little more understanding?

That’s why I’m really excited to learn about Magical Bridge Playground. It’s an organization based in California that is focused on making all playgrounds accessible to ALL children. Not just wheelchairs, ALL children with differences. Kids who learn to include all kids at a young age – play with kids with all kinds of differences – will grow into adults who are more inclusive. It really is that simple. Our kids won’t have to deal with as many stares and questions if they grow up around more kids who understand that lots of people are born different… or have something happen in their lives that makes them different. The organization is pushing for more legislation to change the Americans with Disabilities Act to focus on requiring more inclusiveness in playgrounds across the United States. The Magical Bridge Playground is in Palo Alto, California. It’s gorgeous. It isn’t the only inclusive playground in the country… but I love the focus they are giving to make sure ALL kids can play together.

That reminds me a young friend of ours who goes to school in the St. Louis area – the students at his school (him included) worked together with the help of local organizations to make their school more inclusive. How special is that? All of us can encourage a little more openness on the playground and we might be able to see a world of change in the future.

These thoughts came out of a Twitter chat led by the Type-A Parent community with Magical Bridge. You can check out the stream on Twitter if you want to learn more.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Olenka Villarreal December 4, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Thank you, Jen, for this joining our Twitter conversation (#ADAForgotMe) this morning and for this beautifully written perspective. Incredible to us all that, in 2015, we need to have conversations about why a community park should be designed for the many types of people who live in our community. Yet, here we all are.

With your voice, Jordan’s beautiful example, my daughter Ava’s smile when she plays at Magical Bridge…we can do it! Please keep this critical conversation going, stay in touch and do come visit us soon.

We believe when we design for everyBODY, noBODY stands out and that is the real magic of inclusion.

Have a magical holiday season and come and play with us soon!!

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