The Village is a series of covered multilevel play decks and a three story look out tower inspired by the architecture of Bermuda. The second level of the tower will provide a unique room for parties while the ground floor provides an inviting stage to explore and develop important life skills. Children love the exciting experience of height and, for many people with disabilities, it is a sensation that is rarely open to them. Ascending to the top of the structure not only provides sense of achievement, it celebrates inclusiveness.
THE TREE FORT
Our wheelchair accessible Tree Fort, with its maze of tunnels and passageways, is a wonderful way for individuals to connect with nature high amongst the branches of a beautiful Poinciana tree. It offers ample opportunity for sliding and climbing both of which contribute to our sense of balance, coordination, muscle tone and visual spatial perception.
The Fort will provide several challenge levels for climbing including a rock wall, a ground web net, a fireman’s pole, ladders and chin-up bars. For those who are not ambulatory, a suspended rope tunnel, monkey bars and transfer steps will allow opportunities for movement using upper body strength. The two slides that exit the fort are double width to allow the participant and a caregiver to slide alongside each other. Transfer platforms at the bottom of the slides creates a safe space and allows time for those with special needs to exit comfortably.
The Harbour, with its sand lake and water feature, will provide opportunity for imaginative and sensory play experiences and encourage cooperation. Jetties allow individuals who are not independently mobile to access an area that replicates the beach: the large sandpit. Not only does the sandpit stimulate activity and creativity, it is a wonderful tactile tool for individuals with special needs. A series of wheelchair accessible buckets, pulleys and scoops are provided for children to use in their creative play and encourage cooperation and social integration.
A cozy playhouse Pod has been designed to sit by the main play structure to allow those with spectrum disorders to go to decompress or relax when overstimulated.
Taking a stroll through the woods may be logistically difficult for someone who uses a wheelchair or walker. Our sensory path leads over a humpback bridge, through a vine covered pergola and along an avenue of cedar trees. It will be a great way to connect with nature and engage a variety of senses as well as creating fun wheeled play. Planting will provide smell and colour, play panels and wonky mirrors will stimulate the visual system while a rain wheel and rope maze will provide a tactile experience.
Music is an important part of the walk with percussion instruments and wind chimes. The brain processes music in a different area than speech and language, therefore, for those who have difficulty communicating verbally, music provides a way to express themselves in a non-verbal manner.
THE BALANCE PATH
The Balance Path will provide a variety of activities using natural elements that increase a user’s ability to balance on their feet and build core body strength.
THE SWING AND SWIRL ZONE
Swinging therapy is used to develop sensory integration for people with various autism spectrum disorders as it helps to process the stimuli from our senses. People who spend their time in a wheelchair find the concept of swinging so much fun, so our swing zone will provide adaptive swings with harnesses for those who need support, a bird’s nest swing which provides a full body experience and physical support when a child lays on it, and swings that move in a linear motion or a circular motion.
Spinning is the most powerful form of sensory input that the brain can process and develops muscle control and gross motor skills. Our ground level carousel will be the only one of its kind in Bermuda and will allow wheelchairs users to access the equipment at the same time as other children. While the cost is high the benefits are numerous.
We propose a wide variety of seating to encourage social gathering. Seating is placed throughout the play space to give caregivers a good vantage point to supervise children. Shaded picnic tables will be installed to allow space for wheelchairs so that everyone feels included around the table and child sized tables will also be provided. An attractive planted seating area around a water fountain will be a pleasant and calming area away from the main play area for parents, caregivers and participants in the Older Adults Day Programme.
The playground will be fully fenced to allow visitors to play or wander freely without the risk of getting lost or running into traffic. This is particularly important in the case of visitors on the autism spectrum who may run away from stimulation and for dementia patients who can easily lose their bearings.