See Things Differently
Tumbalong Lights: A Space Where Everyone Can Join In The Magic of Vivid Sydney.
Today is World Play Day! At EarlyEd we see play as a vital developmental tool for all children, and so we are pleased to have been involved in designing a space at Vivid Sydney that promotes play for all visitors and where everyone can experience the magic of Vivid Sydney in 2018.
Vivid Sydney 2018
Cushman & Wakefield have a vision, along with Destination NSW for Vivid Sydney in 2018 to be inclusive for all. This year will feature a designated play experience for all children, including those with special needs. This is an area where all children and their families can experience the magic of Vivid Sydney. Cushman & Wakefield are proud to be the Access and Inclusion Partner for Vivid Sydney for the second year in row. EarlyEd is proud to be a collaborator for an event that sees inclusion in an innovative and truly practical way.
What makes these playgrounds inclusive?
As the first inclusive playground event at Vivid Sydney, Tumbalong Lights is underpinned by inclusive features, supports and facilities. An inclusive event is more than just an accessible activity. The design needs an inclusive approach, the environment at and around the activity needs accessible features, information needs to be available to support and prepare for the activity and assistive supports for inclusion need to be in place.
They might not look different because inclusive design is really good design. Good design doesn’t look ‘special’ but does provide opportunities for everyone to meaningfully participate.
EarlyEd, Play For All Australia and Touched By Olivia were involved in the selection of the playgrounds along with Cushman & Wakefield and Destination NSW as expert collaborators, sharing their experience in inclusive practice to support the design of the event. EarlyEd also designed and delivered inclusion training for volunteers working at the event and created social stories, designed to help children with disabilities understand what they might expect from the playground experience and better interpret the circumstances surrounding the experience. Download the social story now.
The design process
Tumbalong Lights has been designed with an inclusive focus right through from the website, the child friendly sessions, trained volunteers and communication supports, to the installations themselves.
The outcome of working in partnership with families, designers, early childhood and disability practitioners at consultation sessions now and last year was the development of four guiding principles for the inclusive play spaces.
The resulting guiding principles from this collaborative approach helped define the criteria for the scope and outcomes for the playground experiences. The four designs were selected not just for their playful light experiences but because of the way they demonstrated the guiding principles of play elements.
Even after selection, the designers continued to enhance the inclusive experience of each installation. Each playground has inbuilt features that support play and involvement such as cues for when to start and finish. The four designs work together to support families to participate, engage and play.
See things differently
Tumbalong Lights will give those, who might never have thought attending Vivid Sydney possible, the opportunity to see things differently. They can now see a way to make getting there and taking part possible because they:
- can book in for a time that suits them
- know there are trained volunteers available to help
- know the space is safe for their child
- know that their child can play how they want
Tumbalong Lights is also a demonstration that the organisations who are sponsoring the playgrounds see things differently and recognise the importance of community support to help everyone join in just like everyone else. Cushman & Wakefield has with the wonderful collaboration across the property industry brought together ARA Group, Australia Post, Charter Hall, Stockland Care Foundation and Westpac to support the development of the playgrounds and provide trained volunteers.
The four playgrounds aren’t just available for children because we want everyone to be able to join in. All members of a family can join in because the playgrounds are designed to
- suit people of different ages and abilities
- entice you to get involved
- help you know how to get started, stay and play
- be adapted or supported to suit a person’s individual needs
The play elements
Element 1: Play comes in all forms, shapes and sizes
These playgrounds provide a diverse range of ways to play as you engage with light experiences. People of all abilities, interests and ages have the opportunity to play the way they want.
Simple experiences can just happen around you. When you move through the under the sea spaces, you can immerse yourself in the light changes around you and observe the effect that your movement might cause.
Other play experiences allow you to trigger an effect by what you do or how you move. Some allow you to engage in complex ways. You can vary the way you engage with the light features on your own or with others and explore the relationship between your movement and the way the light responds. Some experiences allow you to imagine and pretend.
You can play your own way. There is no wrong way.
Element 2: Sensory play unifies all
The key sensory play feature of the Vivid Sydney Tumbalong Lights experiences is of course visual. These playgrounds include a full range of other sensory experiences to enhance your play. You can play around with how light can interact with sound, touch, vestibular and proprioceptive experiences.
The design of the play spaces and overall event allows everyone to control the sensory experience by varying the intensity and variety of features and the overall experience of each individual playground. Sometimes sensory input can feel overwhelming so we have created opportunities to adjust the experiences. Families can join and leave when you have had enough or want to experience more. Visual supports in the form of social stories can help you process instructions when the space is busy, dynamic and noisy.
The playground area includes the stage area of Tumbalong Park. This can be used as a place to go, to observe the activities from a distance, before you join in. It allows you to step away and out of the play environment for a break. Being able to control the type of sensory input and the amount helps manage an individual’s experiences. It can mean a child can play for longer and in different ways. They can make more of the opportunities.
Element 3: Play helps me feel connected.
By creating this inclusive play space we are creating opportunities for people to come together with an equal opportunity to join in. Joining in can be challenging. Just getting there can be challenging. The planning of the event has made sure every member of the community knows support is available to help address these challenges.
The spaces invite us to come together and play. By creating turns and individual sessions small groups can play together if they want to. Turns provide opportunities for everyone to work together to create their own unique light experience. Working together means more interesting and complex play.
Element 4: Play spaces are U-S-E-D
The Tumbalong Lights play spaces will be used by anyone who comes along because they were designed to ensure they can be U-S-E-D. When people play at Tumbalong Lights you understand and Stay and Everybody can Develop:
- You can use opportunities if you are helped to understand what to do
- You will stay and play because there are play opportunities that are interesting and entice you to keep playing
- Everyone will play because there is something that you and the others in your family can and want to play with
- You will not only have fun but you will develop ideas and learn by interacting, exploring and playing along with others
You’ll see play differently when you play at Tumbalong Lights.
Kerry Dominish, Chief Executive Officer, EarlyEd
Kerry is an experienced speech pathologist and early childhood interventionist with a passion for making inclusion for young children a reality. As an expert partner for Play For All Australia she is part of creating innovating ways to introduce play spaces into our local communities. Play For All Australia and EarlyEd have been privileged to work alongside the Tumbalong Lights’ artists in building the Vivid Sydney inclusive playgrounds.