Hey Springfield… Let’s Play OUTSIDE!

“Let’s play OUTSIDE!” are words that we hope to hear very soon at New Horizons Academy’s Springfield Campus. After over two years of grant writing and fundraising, we hope to break ground mid-April on our long awaited playground project. Our hope is to unveil this fully accessible, multi-sensory playground in August to kick off the new school year.

After years of playing in the school hall and sensory room, NHA’s kiddos are ready to break free, soak in the green therapy, and PLAY!

Educators know that play is about more than just recreational activities, recess, or break time for our students. Play helps children, of all ability levels, increase their physical fitness, reduce obesity, gain emotional and mental mastery, lay the groundwork for creative thinking, promote cognitive development and reasoning, develop their fine and gross motor skills, improve their problem solving abilities, and offer them opportunities to try out new social patterns and behaviors.

This fully inclusive, multi-sensory playground will offer children and youth of all ability levels and their families a place to explore, discover, and grow together. The play area will address the needs of typically developing children, as well as, children with neurological, intellectual, and physical disabilities. It will be rich in sensory experiences, music and movement, physical fitness, social interactions, and physical challenges. The playground will also naturally expand and enhance NHA’s physical education, rehabilitation, conductive education, wellness, therapeutic and recreational programs.

The playground will feature many different elements that our special needs kids will love including—swinging, spinning, climbing, sliding, balancing, rocking, dancing, strengthening their bodies, integrating their senses, and listening to music from adaptive outdoor switches. The playground equipment will include inclusive, adaptable swings, slides, rockers, climbers, obstacle courses, parallel bars, balance beams and musical instruments. 

We are super excited that the playground will also now feature three sensory rings. Children can engage with visual, tactile, and auditory sensors, including sound panels that feature interaction with adaptive switch inputs. 

For green therapy, there will also be a large grassy area for students to explore, discover, and sit on for outdoor classes, activities, and reading. There truly is something for everyone!

Among the organizations and groups, which have helped make this dream a reality, are—the LPGA Dana Open, the Ohio Elks Cerebral Palsy (CP) Fund, Lockrey Manufacturing, Everence, Giving Tuesday 419, the NHA Fun Run/Walk, and many, many caring individuals and families. Donations are still being accepted, so please consider giving today or walking in the NHA Fun Run/Walk in September.

Playground Timelines:

  • Mid-April—Begin cutting out the blacktop and pavement for the foundation.
  • May—Installation of fence posts and the temporary construction fence.
  • June—Prepping the foundation and drainage.
  • July—Playground equipment arrives, and installation begins.
  • Mid-July—Installation of the artificial grass playground surface.
  • Late-July—Installation of the 6’ high vinyl privacy fence around the playground and fob entry for safety and security.
  • Mid-August—Finalize playground equipment installation.
  • August 21—First Day of School & Unveiling of the Playground

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