Oh The Places We'll Go: The Game of Children's Spaces
Balaban, Emily Claire
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Play is inarguably an important part of human development. Through play, children as young as three years of age learn social skills and values that will form the foundation of their development in to adult life. Children can be excluded from play for many reasons. Any visible or cognitive differences in a child can cause them to be marginalized in playgroups or daycares and later in their development, at school and camps. This makes it difficult for them to experience the types of play that are so important to their healthy development. This thesis examines the existing standards for accessible design, finding the contradictions in the information available, and exposing the gaps of information that make it impossible for designers to create truly inclusive play spaces for children. Collaboration with Camp Trillium, one of the foremost pediatric oncology camp programs in Ontario, will be a useful tool for gaining insight into the healing powers of inclusive play experiences for children. The product of this thesis will be the design of a system for creating inclusive play spaces that will allow children who have been marginalized by disabilities and illness to play freely with others. These fully-inclusive play spaces will aim to foster a new understanding of inclusivity in children; teaching those without distinguishing differences the value of relationships with people of differing challenges, and instilling in marginalized children a sense of self that helps them develop the confidence and social ability to penetrate the boundaries that have been inflicted on them.