Barkley School to host Amsterdam’s first all-inclusive playground

three men with shovels in the ground
Breaking ground on the City of Amsterdam’s first all-inclusive playground at Barkley Elementary School are (left to right) GASD Superintendent of Schools Richard Ruberti, NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti.

The City of Amsterdam held a groundbreaking ceremony today for Amsterdam’s first all-inclusive, sensory-friendly playground to be constructed in the spring at Barkley Elementary School.

NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara worked with the state Legislature to secure $455,000 in funding for the project. An inclusive playground exceeds ADA regulations for accessibility and allows children of all abilities and developmental stages to play together, creating a nurturing environment for all.

“As a school district, providing opportunities for inclusive play ensures that all our students experience the benefits of physical, cognitive, social and emotional development,” said GASD Superintendent of Schools Richard Ruberti. “That is why we are so appreciative of this new adaptive playground equipment here at Barkley School and we look forward to many years of smiling faces because of it.”

Adaptive/inclusive playground equipment is also planned for the district’s other three elementary schools in the near future. Joining Ruberti and Santabarbara at today’s ceremony to put a shovel in the ground was Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti.

“This playground will be a place where all children will be welcome and accepted,” Santabarbara said. “I hope it’s a model for other communities are we work to foster acceptance and empathy for children at a very young age.”