A Playground for All: Sulphur Springs opens second national demonstration playground

Kids play on new playground equipment installed at Sulphur Springs Community School following a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning. September 20, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s oldest school district now has the newest playground.

On Friday, Sulphur Springs Union School District officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their namesake school’s new recreational space outdoors.

Dubbed a “national demonstration playground” and the second of its kind in the district, the new apparatus combines a number of fixtures that allow kids to learn while they play without them even knowing it, according to Superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi.

A student at Sulphur Springs Community School cut the ribbon at the official unveiling ceremony for the school’s new playground. September 20, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“Each of the toy pieces were thought of and placed for a reason,” said Kawaguchi, after the ribbon-cutting. The playground was designed with a ramp included so children in a wheelchair can play alongside with other kids. “We want to make sure that no matter what a child’s ability is, they have the opportunity to play and not be excluded.”

Along with two-seater swings and the ramp, the park features a number of classic elements, such as a slide, monkey bars and a climbing wall. However, it also includes a few unique ones, as well, such as fixed musical instruments, cooperative installations and a five-person roundabout.

“We have to remember that we’re supporting the whole child and so … we need to tap into all the modalities,” said Kawaguchi. “(Those) help with the learning, stimulation and growth of young children.”

In attendance at the ribbon-cutting were members of the community and members of the SSUSD governing board. Board President Denis DeFigueiredo challenged the kindergarten through first-grade students, the ones who will be using the equipment, to do two things on the new playground: use their imagination and make new friends.

“It’s so important for all of our students to be included, and traditional playground equipment just doesn’t cut it,” he said.

Students were led in a song at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new playground at Sulphur Springs Community School Friday morning. September 20, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“This is more than just a place to come and let off steam in the middle of the day,” said DeFigueiredo. “This play set has all kinds of elements to stimulate our kids not just on a play level … (for the board) to support something like this is a no-brainer.”

The cost for the playset was $140,000 and the entire project, including new turf and pavement, cost $215,000, according to district officials. They say they hope that the Sulphur Springs and Valley View national demonstration playgrounds can become examples for more schools across the district.

“We’ll be looking forward to building more in our district,” said Kawaguchi. “No matter what school a child attends, they should have the opportunity to play and not be excluded.”

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