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NEWS: JCC rebuilding playground (May 2018)

May 9th, 2018 · No Comments

Community centre emphasizing accessibility

The new rooftop playground at the Miles Nadal JCC will feature natural elements, equipment that encourages learning through play, and be accessible to children in wheelchairs.

By Geremy Bordonaro

The Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (JCC) is fundraising to build a new rooftop playground at its home at Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue. A large portion of the funds has been raised in memory of Al Green on behalf of his family but there is still a little way to go before the construction begins.

The centre’s existing playground has served the community and the 125 children who attend school there well for a long time, but it is time for an upgrade, according to Harriet Wichin, executive director of the JCC.

“It’s flat now. It just looks like some dirt with some nice trees. We tried a natural playground for a while,” she said. “Now we’re trying to stay ahead of the curve. We’re doing what is necessary to keep the playground accessible.”

“They’re going to have just so much fun engaging with all the new materials in the playground”—Parveen Virdi, assistant director, JCC

A key focus is making sure that all children from 15 months to five years, regardless of ability, will be able to enjoy the space. The surface, which is currently flat and made up of wood chips and dirt, will be changed to rubber at varying elevations, and there will be enough space to accommodate those in wheelchairs. There will also be many natural elements and gardens. There will be different rubberized pieces — similar to a large Lego set — that can be used to build whatever a child could dream up and help inspire creativity.

The JCC is working with architectural firm Land Art Design to help bring its vision to reality.

“There are many unique challenges to designing on a rooftop,” said Joaquin Sevillano, an associate at the company. “You have to keep weather and safety in mind…. As far as I can tell this is one of the only playgrounds of its kind in the city.”

A key goal is to create an opportunity for young children to learn and grow.

“It is designed for what is known as emergent play,” said Sevillano. “Kids will have the opportunity to learn through many different methods on this playground, whether it be through nature or otherwise.”

The design is in line with the JCC school, which is focused on creating emergent play that facilitates learning in a fun environment.

“The notion with all of our schools is ‘learn through play’. The idea is, even if you look out there [in the playground] now, you can see all the children are playing with trucks, nature, and different things. That’s the sort of learning we aim for,” said Wichin.

“It will just inspire the children,” said Parveen Virdi, the assistant director of children’s education at the JCC, who is ecstatic about the new playground. “[Children] have so much curiosity and imagination and they’re going to have just so much fun engaging with all the new materials in the playground.”

Meanwhile Sevillano, who worked on the plans, said that the JCC has been a good partner throughout all of this.

“The JCC have been great,” Sevillano said. “Generally they have been giving their feedback to us about what types of things they want to see in the playground and we’ve been putting them in. It’s a great relationship.”

To learn more about the JCC’s fundraising campaign for the new playground, please visit The centre expects to break ground this year once the fundraising is complete.



NEWS: MNJCC makes giant splash (OCTOBER 2016)

NEWS: Miles Nadal JCC submits electronic roof sign application (MAY 2017)

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