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Quincy Park Playground for All Children
Universal Design Playground Helps Children
Learn, Communicate, and Play

Landscape Architecture by Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation




The Quincy Park Playground in Arlington, Virginia features a park map with braille signage, tactile and thematic mosaics, a musical area and a variety of swings--hammock, basket, swings for 2-5 year-olds and 5-12-year-olds, strap-on seat swings and an 'expression swing'. There's rope and wall climbers, a quiet area for retreat, soft play surfaces, a picnic pavilion, a natural shade canopy, a variety of seating, ADA-compliant walkway and incline, fencing, multi-spinner, steppers and arches. The playground is enclosed, but with see-through fencing for open sight lines, creating a safe space to explore and run freely. There are six music/sound elements, from left: a turtle drum, pagoda bells, Imbarimba (Freenotes Harmony Park) and three drums of different origins: African/Asian, Native American and Caribbean.

Kids have a lot in common, but they're not all the same. The Quincy Park Playground in Arlington, Virginia, provides a place for all children to feel emotionally secure when using a variety of developmentally appropriate activities that challenge children of all abilities in a safe environment. The playground's sensory-rich landscape encourages discovery and engagement and includes tactile, visual, auditory, spinning and movement experiences.

To encourage the cognitive experience the playground design creates a place where children can learn through play and interaction, problem solve, engage in abstract thought, develop cause-and-effect skills and have hands-on opportunities. The playground also helps to promote communication, social development, natural play behaviors and routines.

Children don't engage the musical elements in the same manner or with the same motivations. A child with a sensory disability may be drawn toward the chimes, bells or drums. Other kids may just be intrigued by how they can physically produce and manipulate the musical sounds. Most importantly, children with diverse abilities can play side by side, make friends and just enjoy the equipment, whatever their motivations.

"I didn't want anyone to feel different when they are here," said Joshua Serck, RLA, the landscape architect behind the Quincy Park design, Arlington County's first universal design playground. "With thoughtful design, people with various abilities can use the same space alongside everyone else."

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December 14, 2019, 7:59 am PDT

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