Building a new universally-designed playground at Hillcrest Elementary in Downers Grove, IL, is the first project dream build play experience looks forward to realizing.

Our fundraising goal is $450,000. To help keep costs down, our landscape architects donated their time and talent. And it’s important to note every dollar we raise pays for equipment and installation. There are no administrative costs.

Why this playground? Why now? Years ago, Hillcrest created the first Developmental Learning Program (DLP) classroom for kids with special needs. It continues to serve as a model for schools creating better learning environments. Fourteen percent of students currently enrolled in the District live with a disabling condition. This playground serves both students attending Hillcrest, and families living in surrounding communities.

Better yet, focus groups with educators and special education therapists contributed their expertise. So did students who know what they need. Design plans were built around those ideas, and remain flexible to include future needs.

Right now, we expect installation in the 2015/2016 school year. Funds we raise will make sure all kids, of all abilities, can safely play and learn.

Help make this dream a reality. Donate today.

Why we do it?

What was important to the students?

  • Connected structures so they can play with a group of peers
  • More climbing structures since they can’t climb trees
  • A special Relaxation station where they can read a book or have class outdoors
  • Safer equipment
  • Equipment that all the students can play on, regardless of their ability
  • No woodchips

What was important to the educators and special education therapists?

  • No woodchips
  • Equipment that offers sensory and vestibular input
  • Connected structures and equipment that includes children of all abilities
  • Structures that can adapt to a wheelchair or a walker
  • Safe play environment

What will the playground look like?

  • Recycled rubber replaces woodchips
  • Connected structures with double wide ramps
  • Wheelchair swings in addition to several bays of swings
  • Balance beams, musical structures, a relaxation station with more sitting
  • Buddy Benches: if a student doesn’t have a friend to play with at recess, children know to include those sitting alone at the bench
  • Climbing structures
  • Separate small playground for Kindergarten students

Click thru blueprints below to see what we are trying to build together.

  • Hillcrest School Playground View 1

  • Hillcrest Playground, View 2