KIDS’ Adventure Playgrounds provide an opportunity for stimulating and inclusive play on a closed access site. Priority is given to children and young people with specific requirements and their siblings. However, young people within the right age range who live in the surrounding communities are also welcome.

Our Playgrounds vary in size however they all have a wide range of equipment including soft play, zip wires, sensory rooms, nest swings, climbing frames, tree houses, bikes and trailers. They are all securely fenced, providing a safe environment where children can explore freely.

 

How does the service work?

The Chelsea Playground offers an accessible green space within an urban environment, where children can freely choose their play in a setting which supports their requirements.

Supported by qualified and trained staff, we aim to provide children using the playground with equal access to all activities.   Our Chelsea Adventure Playground is child led and child-centred, this means play is personally directed by the children so they choose when, how and what they play with. This means they have a sense of ownership which enables them to make choices, develop friendships and have fun.

Our Playgrounds vary in size however they all have a wide range of equipment including soft play, zip wires, sensory rooms, nest swings, climbing frames, tree houses, bikes and trailers. They are all securely fenced, providing a safe environment where children can explore freely.

Wispa and Honey

Chelsea Playground also has two very special members of the team, Honey and Wispa. Honey and Wispa  are two very gentle Dogue de Bordeux ( French Mastiff) who  belong to our Playground Manager Sarah and they often come to visit the playground as we have found that they have had a positive  impact on the children. 

The therapeutic benefit of animals for children with autism was first explored in the 1970s, when researchers in Miami conducted a study on how a group of children with autism responded to guided sessions with dolphins. The researchers found that children increased the range of their attention, and their ability to interact with others – especially noticeable were increases in the frequency and sophistication of verbal communication.

Subsequent research with other kinds of animals, including pets in the home, has only served to strengthen these conclusions. Animals, especially dogs, are perceived by individuals of all ages as attentive and understanding, and are now used therapeutically across many diverse communities (including children with disabilities) as a proven way of reducing emotional stress. With children with autism in particular, research indicates that animal relationships can provide a vital transition between self-isolation and social relationships with others: positive responses from an animal are a powerful behavioural reinforcement; responses to spoken or signed commands encourage continued communication; and healthy attachment patterns set a model for subsequent relationships.

While research on the subject is limited, qualitative evidence also indicates that animals can teach children responsibility, encouraging them to commit to regular tasks that help others. The initial pleasure gained from interacting with an animal facilitates the participation of children in interactive and care-taking activities. These tasks then become rewards, rather than punishments, helping build empathetic skills, motor skills and confidence. 

The benefits of having the dogs on site have been huge – the children who were already dog lovers, instantly changed their play to include the animals.  Their communication improved as they were motivated to ask about the dogs, how they could interact with them etc.  It brought many of the children together in groups they wouldn't normally seek out, as they found a topic of common interest.

 Some of the children were more timid at first, especially as Honey and Wispa as they fairly big and very playful.  Children were able to make the association between them and other dogs, and so were less worried by dogs in general.  One young boy  especially went through an extraordinary transformation: initially he was very scared of even the dogs that came by the playground fence, and was reluctant to go outside because of them.  Now he seeks out their company, loves to join in with dog games (which has helped him get over his shyness around other children too!), and has received a huge boost of confidence from the experience.

 Another child who has received huge benefit from the dogs has been H.  H is one of the older children on the playground, but her disability means she sometimes feels unable to do as much as she should.  Being given jobs to do with the dogs has clearly made her feel trusted and responsible, and now she helps other children play with them in the best ways.  Her responsibility and her abilities seem to grow in compliment to each other, and she is flourishing – confident in new activities and in interacting with others.

Of course it is important to respect the additional attention to safety that bringing a dog on-site entails.  The dogs are toileted before the children arrive on site they do need to go during the day and we ensure this happens outside the playground, and that it is cleared up.  We make sure as well that there is a good chunk of time in the day when the dogs rest in the office, and they are kept out of food preparation areas.   Parent /carers are always asked whether their children can play with the dogs and if parents wish it the dogs will not visit while their child is on site. There have been a few incidents when the children were acclimatising to the dogs and would experiment by pinching/hitting them, but the dogs have always reacted with avoidance rather than aggression.  Nevertheless, dogs and children NEVER play together unsupervised.

To read more about Honey and Wispa click  Here

Who is the service for?

Children and young people with special needs and disabilities, and their siblings and/or friends.


How much does it cost?

Costs vary - Please contact Playground.

Availability:

Day

Term-Time

School Holidays

Monday Closed Closed
Tuesday Closed 10:00-16:00
Wednesday Closed 10:00-16:00
Thursday Closed 10:00-16:00
Friday Closed Closed
Saturday 10:00-16:00 Closed
Sunday Closed Closed
     

Please note that this playground can open on other days by special arrangement.

How to access this service:

Contact us directly at the playground to find out if your child is eligible to attend.

Contact:

Phone: 0207 352 6959
Email: [email protected]

Download our leaflet here