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Incorporating both regular and special education within a shared schoolyard environment

We have created a stunning communal area at KindCentrum Bekkerveld's new school building. This shared space successfully brings together students from both regular and special education. The square boasts a range of exciting facilities, including a freerun parkour, soccer field, jungle gym, and more. These amenities cater to children of all ages and abilities, ensuring a fun and engaging experience for everyone involved.

Heerlen, The Netherlands
2023
Lappset Yalp The Netherlands
2 min

Five partners, one building

St. Tarcisius elementary school and St. Catherine, special needs school, have always been neighbours. When both school buildings required renovation, merging them into one building made sense. Now, along with the child day care, out-of-school care, playgroup, and the administrative office of INNOVO, they are all housed in the beautifully renovated old HTS building.

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Regular and special education live side by side and with each other

A new building naturally comes with a fantastic schoolyard that caters to children from both regular and special education. Maud Deckers, the principal of St. Tarcisius, explains, "We have developed a shared vision with St. Catherine that guides our actions. We learn, live, and play TOGETHER within the building. While we engage in various activities collectively, we remain two distinct schools. Each floor is divided into multiple units, where students from both St. Tarcisius and Catharina come together. Additionally, children from both schools enjoy playing in the square."

Experts working together

To create an exceptional schoolyard design, the schools enlisted a working group consisting of experts, such as a motor remedial teacher and a movement specialist. "It was invaluable to involve individuals with their respective expertise. Previously, I had solely relied on aesthetics, which proved insufficient. As part of our preliminary research, we visited other schools to discern effective and ineffective approaches. I highly recommend this to everyone," Maud stated. Following this research, Lappser Yalp was approached to undertake the challenge of designing a square that would facilitate inclusive play for all children. It was a unique task to create a square that would cater to the needs of all five partners. "Thanks to Lappset Yalp's expertise, comprehensive guidance, and innovative design, we now have a splendid square where children of all abilities can engage in play," Maud expressed with gratitude.

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Zone layouts from rough to calm

The design of the schoolyard takes into consideration both gross and fine motor skills. Additionally, the square is organized in a way that allows for a seamless transition between active and quiet play areas. This ensures that children with different preferences, whether it be playing soccer or sitting peacefully on a bench, can engage in activities that suit their individual desires. By providing multiple zones, each child is afforded the opportunity to play in their own unique way.

Child Center Bekkerveld | Heerlen, The Netherlands

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