Alexandria Playspace Assessment complete!

Since summer 2011, we have been working hard to learn more about the playgrounds in Alexandria and how well they address the play needs of Alexandria’s toddlers and preschoolers.

With funding from a Kaiser Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) grant, we hired Design Concepts, a group of playground experts, to gain a better understanding of the:

  1. Quality of Alexandria playspaces for toddlers and preschoolers;
  2. Distribution of the playspaces (which areas had less areas for children to play and which areas had more); and
  3. Accessibility of the playspaces.

The study consisted of five main parts:

  • An inventory of playspaces that included an evaluation of the functionality of each playground or playspace toward serving the needs of 2-5 year-old children.
  • An analysis of the physical distribution of and access to playspaces across Alexandria and how this is meeting the needs of children.
  • A series of focus group sessions with family day care providers, participants in Alexandria playgroups, service providers, providers of play facilities, and others to determine the needs, values, and priorities for play relative to 2-5 year-olds in Alexandria.
  • An overall evaluation of the gaps, opportunities, and constraints that affect access to play in Alexandria.
  • A set of recommendations and strategies for improving access to playspaces for 2-5 year olds in Alexandria and the value of the available playspaces.

We also conducted a Photovoice Project, which reinforced many of the findings from the focus groups, in tandem to the assessment. 

The results are in!  Click below to learn more about our findings:

Table of Contents
Preface
Executive Summary: Studying Play in Alexandria
The Story of Play
Existing Playspaces in Alexandria
Demographics
Level of Service Analysis
Focus Group Input
Play Trends
Observations and Recommendations
Appendices 
Full Report 

What’s next?
As part of Project Play, we are forming the Project Play Task Force who will begin developing recommendations based on the report’s findings.  Contact Katie Leonard at katie.leonard@vdh.virginia.gov if you are interested in participating.