Inclusive Playground

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church is opening a disability inclusive playground for young children in August 2019.

As the head of our inclusive school committee, Hilary Yancey, recently wrote:

When we think about accessibility, I imagine that most of us think about wider hallways or automatic doors. Maybe we picture ramps for mobility devices or cutouts in the sidewalk. Perhaps we think of interpreters standing at the front of the room.

These kinds of changes to communal spaces make a real and important difference to the way that individuals with disabilities can experience the world. But there is an important difference between making an existing space a little wider, and creating a new space designed to be inclusive of all kinds of needs. It isn’t often that we get to make a brand-new space: but that’s just what we are doing with the playground at Holy Spirit.

God has provided an opportunity for our church to build something that is unique—not just to churches—but to all of Waco: a fully inclusive, accessible playground. Imagine with me for a moment the invitation we can make to children with walkers, hearing aids, sensory processing differences, glasses or visual needs. They don’t play in a special section of the playground, but everywhere, on every component, from the huge musical instrument at one end to the tunnel and gradually sloping hill on the other. Their hearing aids have been taking into consideration in anti-static turfing that doesn’t create feedback or static. Their wheelchairs have been thought about, as each part of the space is easy to maneuver a wheelchair into and out of. Their sensory needs have been considered, with musical toys, tunnels and turfing that is safe for someone to fall from a height of 12 feet and not get injured. Imagine their communities of parents, relatives, friends, caregivers, who have the chance to watch them enjoy a space created with their needs in mind.

Holy Spirit is one of the most welcoming spaces I’ve ever encountered. We welcome people with our cheerful greetings and introductions, with our care and compassion for their life stories, and with our eagerness to involve them in the life of our church. And now, we have the opportunity to extend that welcome into the physical space we create for our children to explore and play.

Construction is under way and you can expect the playground to be open no later than August. What an exciting time to be at Holy Spirit!

Read the recent news article about the playground here.

More to come! Stay tuned!