MTPR

Kids Like You And Me: Missoula's All-Abilities Playground

Jun 14, 2018

Recently, "Pea Green Boat" Skipper Annie Garde took a tour of Silver Summit, a "playground for everyone" in Missoula's McCormick Park. It's an all-abilities playround that invites children excited by the brightly-colored equipment and welcoming atmosphere to discover nooks, crannies and equipment that can accommodate their bodies, their mobility devices, and their ways of playing. Listen as Heath, Jenny, Logan, Adam, Lisa and Mataya show Annie their favorite spots at Silver Summit.

Montana's first all-abilities playground is a cheerful space near the Clark Fork River, with great views of the mountains around Missoula. Its thoughtful design ensures that inclusion of all kids happens effortlessly, enriching everyone along the way. Art and poetry elements in the park, as well as the ways that its design and construction process are helping to build community, have made this playground larger than the sum of its parts. 

Listen to this installment of "Kids Like You And Me" on "The Pea Green Boat" Friday, June 15, 2018, between 4:00 - 4:55pm.

Artist Trish McKay's model for "The Enchanted Forest," an element at Missoula's second all-abilities playground, planned for the northwest corner of Fort Missoula Regional Park.

From Silver Summit's website: Why Play Is An Important Right for Every Child:

- Play is critical for healthy physical, emotional and cognitive development.
- More than 15% of school-age kids have a developmental disability or challenge.
- Montanans need a fun-for-all play place where all styles of play are celebrated.
- Meeting new friends and playing together makes us all feel great!

Pea Green Boat provides a unique and nurturing place to hear stories about how it feels to be excluded, mocked, and bullied because you’re different, in color or ability – or how it feels to be accepted despite those differences. 

What does Montana’s limited ethnic and cultural diversity mean to the social development of the state’s children? Nearly 90% of Montana’s children have little reason to learn, to think, or to act beyond their individual experience as a member of the majority. Episodes in the Kids Like You and Me series can help build empathy and teach compassion and acceptance. The program can also be a resource for parents, caregivers, and teachers to help begin and moderate relevant conversations.

Funding for this episode of Kids Like You and Me was provided by Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. The RIIC provides services, training, and research that supports the independence, inclusion, and participation of people with disabilities.