An Inclusive Alberta

One of Variety Alberta’s initiatives is to see all new playgrounds built through an inclusive lens from the onset and see playgrounds that do not accommodate for this be able to expand and include accessible and inclusive play design and features.

We can assist in the development of inclusive playgrounds throughout our province that promotes dignity, understanding, and respect among all children including children with ability diverse needs.

We are offering our services to bring ideas, research, support and funding to assist in making sure every project maximizes the options available to give every child an equal right to play.

Aquatic wheelchair at Variety Park

How we can offer support:

Playground Design

We will work with community partners to identify playgrounds throughout the province that are currently well used, but not fully inclusive for children with specialized needs. We will create a strategy based on each playground and community need and will assemble a team to work with partners and community members to design the space and support with the playground build from start to finish.

Community Outreach

We will support each park build by supporting the community with its fundraising efforts and will give a Variety Playground Inclusion grant to each park. We will work with the communities and help them with raising awareness of the need to include accessibility and inclusivity in their park and support their fundraising.

Education and Best Practices

We will support community members with training opportunities on playground equipment designs that benefit the physical and cognitive growth and development of ability diverse children through inclusive play spaces and inclusive play experiences.

Our Services:

  • Research and Best Practices: Bringing the most current research on play design and space to encompass the spectrum of ability diverse needs (mobility; cognitive; sensory) in an interactive space.

  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Bringing together community and organizational experts for additional support and resources.

  • Fundraising: Offering support with fundraising for each project.

  • Financial Management of Donations and Tax Receipts: We can solicit, receive, issue tax receipts, and manage all financial aspects of the playground including grant writing and final report writing.

2017/2018 Playgrounds:

We see all too often, playground designs that are not created with children who have specialized needs in mind – things such as pea gravel; wood chip surfacing; playground equipment that does not accommodate for assistive devices (or those that do, often lack play value for the children who use assistive devices on a daily basis); equipment that lacks different physical entrance points to accommodate ability diverse needs; and playgrounds that lack features for children with cognitive and sensory challenges (i.e. quiet spaces for children who are autistic to desensitize).

When playgrounds are not built for all children, they not only create barriers that prohibit children from playing but also prevent children from interacting with other children – something that is necessary for breaking down negative perceptions associated with disabilities and allowing for opportunities for interactive play.

The following are the community parks that we are supporting to create more inclusive play spaces:

Thorncliffe Greenview Community:

Our Sponsors:

  • Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association – $25,000
  • Parks Foundation Calgary – $25,000
  • City of Calgary – $75,000

    ($45,000 funding; $35,000 in-kind donation)

The Thorncliffe Greenview Community is wanting to create a park where community members from different backgrounds, ages, abilities and socio economic backgrounds can come together in a positive, inclusive space.

The current playground poses a safety hazard for children with worn and broken playground equipment and minimal play value. Currently it sits barren and unused.

With a new inclusive space, community members will be able to congregate, socialize and play.

To learn more about the playground and upgrades and link to the Community Park Created Website please link HERE.

Cochrane Centennial Park:

Our Sponsors:

  • Town of Cochrane – $50,000
  • Cochrane TD Bank – $400

The Centennial Park in Cochrane was built to be a barrier free park. Though the playground is supportive of individuals using wheelchairs or other assistive devices it is not fully inclusive and poses limitations for individuals who want to access the swing area. Furthermore, the pea gravel from the swing area has carried into the main playground where rubber surfacing is and has created holes and wrecked the pour and place creating a safety hazard for children playing on higher equipment should they drop down onto it.

We would like to create a separate toddler area and add additional features to the park.

Wishlist (includes but is not limited to):

  • Inclusive Zipline

  • Saucer Swings

  • Sensory Panels

  • Rope Climber