Banner Pattern News Detail
February 19, 2024

Inclusive Playground Initiative for Elementary and Preschool Students

In a bid to enhance the play experiences of elementary and preschool students, the Ames Community School District has initiated a phased project to install brand-new playgrounds across all its elementary schools and preschool center. The endeavor not only aims to revamp recreational spaces but also prioritizes inclusivity, ensuring that all children, regardless of ability, have equal opportunities to engage in play.

The comprehensive project, slated to commence as soon as schools break for summer vacation, will see the installation of inclusive playground equipment designed to accommodate children with diverse physical and cognitive abilities. The decision to prioritize inclusivity reflects the district’s commitment to fostering an environment where every student can thrive and be successful.

Funds for this ambitious project have been allocated from the Physical Plant Equipment Levy (PPEL) and various generous donors, with the district prioritizing student well-being and development. Community engagement played a significant role in determining the features and designs of the new playgrounds, with input sought from both staff and families to ensure the spaces cater to the specific needs of the students.

“The level of engagement and commitment from our staff and families has been remarkable,” said Lisa Clayberg, Principal at Meeker Elementary. “Their valuable input has been instrumental in shaping the vision for these playgrounds, ensuring they are not only fun but also accessible to all.”

Renderings of the proposed playground structures showcase vibrant and engaging spaces, featuring a variety of inclusive equipment such as adaptive swings, sensory play elements, and wheelchair-accessible ramps. The designs aim to create environments where children of all abilities can play side by side, fostering social interaction and a sense of belonging.

The first wave of schools set to benefit from the playground upgrades includes Northwood, Meeker, and Edwards Elementary. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of July, just in time for the new academic year.

“We’re thrilled to see the vision of inclusive playgrounds becoming a reality,” said Jessica Sharp, Principal at Edwards Elementary. “These spaces will not only provide opportunities for physical activity but also promote social inclusion and positive peer interactions among our students.”

Following the initial phase, Sawyer, Mitchell, and Fellows Elementary schools are slated to undergo similar upgrades the following summer, ensuring that all elementary students within the district have access to modern, inclusive playground facilities.

The project represents a significant investment in the well-being and development of the district’s youngest learners, embodying a commitment to equity and inclusivity in education. As the community eagerly awaits the completion of the first set of playgrounds, anticipation is high for the transformative impact these spaces will have on the students’ overall school experience.

“An inclusive playground is not just a physical space; it’s a place where children of all abilities come together to learn, grow, and play,” said Mary Morton, Principal of Northwood Elementary. “I’m beyond thrilled to know these spaces will exist in our schools.” 

Playground Renderings


Playground Renderings 2 9 2024 Page 1


Playground Renderings 2 9 2024 Page 2
Playground Renderings 2 9 2024 Page 3


Playground Renderings 2 9 2024 Page 4
Playground Renderings 2 9 2024 Page 6