Due to its success this garden playground has been expanded to include a more

Due to its success this garden playground has been

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Due to its success, this garden playground has been expanded to include a more active area with a sand box, a boat overlook and spiral mazes. It has recently been adopted as a main play site by the severely handicapped services unit at the hospital and now also serves children with limited mobility and cognitive functions. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 46
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Whatcom Centre for Early Learning - Bellingham, Washington Whatcom Centre for Early Learning (WCEL) is a centre for children from 0 to 5 years of age with special needs and for their families. Based on staff and parent research, the WCEL group was able to develop a sensory therapeutic garden for these toddlers and infants using local materials, talent and labour. With the help of Plant Earth Playscapes, a garden was conceived where every human sense could be explored and developed. Features of the playspace include a raised herb garden, a ‘trike’ track, a slide embedded in a grassy berm, decorative grasses, a playhouse, a mini-treehouse, a sand and water play area, a deck trellis, a ‘wobbly walk’, a textured path, a quiet area and a talk tube. Boulders from the local river were embedded in a shallow, serpentine concrete channel to form a free flowing sand and water sculpture. Coloured marbles were embedded between the rocks to create a sense of discovery, colour and surprise. Driftwood, from a local bay, was installed as a climbing and balance structure. The overall site is connected by a tricycle track and path with textural changes from crushed stone to asphalt to flagstones, identifying different parts of the play area. This playground now serves as a model for playground development in schools and daycare centres throughout Bellingham. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 47
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Therapeutic Gardens & Manitoba Playgrounds Many Manitoba hospitals and health care centres have begun implementing therapeutic landscapes on their grounds. These organizations have learned that well designed landscape environments can help to decrease stress, improve recovery rates, and allow grieving families solace. The idea of human health is also moving from a prescriptive treatment ideology, toward a preventative and proactive community and individual participation model. For example, the ‘Healthy Communities Movement’ has spread throughout the world as an idea and process that galvanizes communities, neighbourhoods and cities to take action in changing their attitudes and increasing their environmental, physical and social health. Manitoba’s school, recreation centre, neighbourhood and park playgrounds are essential places for contributing to children's overall health, yet they are often ‘sick ‘ environments. Many children experience high levels of stress and violence on the playground. It is time to include the therapeutic landscape approach in the design of all playgrounds.
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