Providing for special needs children can be a challenge for schools both inside classrooms and outside on fields and playgrounds. Synthetic turf is an innovative solution for many of the problems these kids and their schools encounter outside, helpings kids to have safe, healthy, and happy outdoor areas for play.
Autism and other conditions often affect how kids sense and react to their environment, including common materials used in playgrounds as ground cover like bark, rocks, or dirt. These children may put materials like these in their mouth even when they are older, or find the materials disturbing to the touch.
The ABA/Chrysalis Academy in Tempe, Arizona enrolls younger children up to grade four who have conditions that affect their social, language, and behavioral skills. When NewGrass® was installed at the school, the staff found an immediate improvement in how they could use the outdoor space. While these children often put other materials in their mouths, the problem went away when NewGrass was installed.
Creating outdoor areas where kids and staff are more comfortable also means that they can use playgrounds and fields for other purposes like outdoor learning, getting out of the classroom on nice days. “Not only has it helped the children, it’s given us a whole new teaching area – outdoors on a nice lawn,” said Patty McCartney, director of the school. “The kids and teachers just love it. We’ve been doing a lot of the group activities outside. It’s opened up a new space for us.”
Natural grass can look great on a field when it grows well, but it doesn’t always grow well. Schools can find growing grass difficult where it’s too hot and dry, or too cold and wet. A field for play can end up as a dirty dusty lot, or a muddy pit. Places where it snows and freezes also find it hard to grow grass, while synthetic turf takes care of itself once it’s installed.
Natural grasses also cause allergies for many students, and special needs children can suffer more from allergies than others. Changing to synthetic turf reduces allergies, and may even reduce the impact of serious health issues like asthma.
Injuries are another health concern for all kids on playgrounds, and synthetic turf may also provide for fewer injuries. While many groundcovers don’t insulate falls, synthetic turf like NewGrass® can include a layer of protective coating that reduces the impact of falls.
Some of these benefits may be pronounced for special needs kids, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyed by all other kids too.
When NewGrass® was installed at the Armbrae Academy in Nova Scotia, NewGrass® CEO went himself to help with the installation, with the staff and parents from the school helping out. The whole school has already found the material makes a big improvement in their enjoyment of the outdoor space.
“I was impressed with the staff, parents and students that assisted in converting the former mud bowl into a multi-purpose play area. And it withstood hurricane Earl days after we completed the project!”
Having a safe and healthy play environment is crucial for all types of kids. If synthetic turf gives kids a better, safer, and healthier place to play, exercise, grow, and learn, this sounds a great thing for all involved.
This post is from NewGrass®. NewGrass® is the waterless grass of choice of many designers and installers of backyard play areas. Key reasons are that it is lead-safe, provides safety under play sets, and is superior to traditional natural products – include grass, sand and wood chips – as as a ground cover under playground equipment.