Playworld Systems deepens commitment to accessibility through partnership with Let Kids Play!
Founder, Inclusive Play Advocate Mara Kaplan to Contribute to Product Research and Development
LEWISBURG, PA (September 16, 2010) – Playworld Systems, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground equipment, today announced it established an exclusive partnership with Mara Kaplan, the founder of Let Kids Play!, an organization that specializes in designing play spaces for children with special needs. An educator and parent of a child with a disability, Kaplan is a nationally recognized expert in play and a seasoned advocate for inclusive play.
Kaplan will conduct research to identify additional ways to ensure Playworld Systems’ playground equipment is fully optimized for children with disabilities. She will evaluate existing product lines and collaborate with Playworld’s concept and engineering teams to provide input on future product development.
“Mara’s personal story is inspiring and reminds us that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities benefit from play,” said Matthew Miller, chief executive officer of Playworld Systems. “Our organization’s core beliefs are closely aligned with Mara’s life work of creating inclusive play environments. We are excited to have her consult with our team and look forward to a meaningful enduring partnership with Let Kids Play!”
Kaplan is also organizing Playworld’s upcoming Play Day! on Friday, September 24 at Millstone Creek playground in Westerville, Ohio. Play Day! – a functional research project in partnership with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play – offers families raising a child with a disability the opportunity to engage with a new fully-accessible playground and provide critical feedback. Playworld Systems will use the real-world insights from the project to inform its future product development and improve the accessibility of playground equipment across the country.
“Unfortunately, some people think accessibility is about providing ramps to equipment or facilities that are otherwise designed for non-disabled people,” said Kaplan. “I am excited to partner with Playworld Systems to effect real, ground-breaking change in the playground equipment design space.”
More about Playworld Systems’ Commitment to Playground Accessibility Initiatives
Playworld Systems strives to achieve the barrier-free principles of Universal Design, which go above and beyond the ADA guidelines. Specifically, Playworld Systems’ equipment:
- Provides accessible routes into, around, and within the play space
- Makes all ground-level activities accessible
- Achieves satisfactory elevated-to-ground-based play component ratios
Universally designed play spaces are intended to create an identical or equivalent play experience for every single child, without segregation or stigmatization.
About Playworld Systems, Inc.
Playworld Systems, a third-generation family-owned company headquartered in Lewisburg, Pa., has been a leader in imaginatively designed and customized commercial recreation and playground equipment for more than 30 years. With the belief that The World Needs Play®, Playworld Systems creates equipment that brings the joy of play to people of every age through such innovative product lines as ENERGI®, LifeTrail® Advanced, Playworld™ PlayDesigns®, and NatureForms™. Playworld Systems has invested significant resources to measurably reduce its carbon footprint, from eliminating PVCs to enhancing its waste management and recycling programs. In fact, Playworld Systems is the first major U.S. playground manufacturer to remove 99.999 percent of PVC from its products.
The company has received numerous awards throughout the years, including two International Industrial Design Excellence Awards, a gold medal from International Design magazine, two News Directors’ Choice Awards on Early Childhood, and the Pennsylvania Governors’ Award for Safety Excellence. Along with these awards, Playworld Systems was a consultant to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). For more information, visit www.PlayworldSystems.com.
About Let Kids Play!
Founded in 2007 by Mara Kaplan, Let Kids Play is a consulting group that works to ensure that all children have access to play regardless of age or ability. Let Kids Play works with playground manufacturers, non-profit organizations, park districts, local communities and parents to create and design play spaces. The organization also reviews and provides recommendations for high-quality toys that promote inclusive play.
Kaplan, an educator and mother of a child with disabilities, believes that children need carefully designed play spaces, access to educational materials and interaction with trained adults in order to learn and develop. For more information on creating inclusive play spaces go to www.letkidsplay.com.