UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Play for all: New ECC playground levels the field for all kids

Friday, January 6, 2012

Play for all: New ECC playground levels the field for all kids

An all-access playground 15 years in the making was officially dedicated Thursday at the Early Childhood Center on the campus of Fairfield Warde High School. The project, which cost about $100,000, expanded an existing play scape and added new playing features and equipment. Superintendent of Schools David Title said the project was two-fold -- to make it safer and more accessible to children with disabilities, and to expand its size. He said the previous surface was uneven and covered in wood chips.
"This is a project that began long before I got here by a passionate group of parents," said Kristen Bruno, coordinator for Early Childhood Special Education for the Fairfield public schools, just before First Selectman Michael Tetreau and Title cut the red ribbon to the delight of the dozens of children, who counted down, "three, two, one!" before the giant scissors chopped the ribbon in half. They were joined by parents, teachers, town government representatives, and education officials, who gathered on the newly installed rubberized surface of the playground, which doubled in size. It also got a number of new features. The playground, which actually opened shortly after Thanksgiving, has a jungle gym that includes side-by-side slides, a picnic table and climbing elements, which are suitable for all children including those with special needs. There is also a new swing set, a car wash, gas station area and other features and equipment, which Bruno said can be used for recreation or for therapy. "This playground now can be used for individual therapies: speech, occupational and physical ... It levels the playing field so all preschoolers can have access to the playground. Studies show the earlier a child can learn to navigate their environment and succeed the less services they may need as they go through the educational system," said Melissa Herley, co-chairwoman of the Early Childhood Center's parent group. Herley said the playground will more effectively meet children's motor, sensory and social skills. READ MORE:

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