遊戲場革命

把遊戲權還給孩子
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2019 / 5月

文‧曾蘭淑 圖‧林旻萱


為母則強。「我們的孩子激發了我們拿出專業,爭取遊戲權。」還我特色公園行動聯盟的媽媽們,透過社群網路動員、作簡報陳情、寫文章倡議,參與公部門整建公園遊戲設施,以及號召各地居民「自己的公園自己救」等行動,三年多來推動了一百多座特色公園的設立,改變了台灣遊戲場的面貌。

 


 

「以前只有塑膠遊具的時候,因為不好玩,2歲大的孩子覺得無聊,都會拉著我的手對我說,媽媽陪我玩。」催生台北市牯嶺公園改造的蔡青樺,邊看著她的孩子樂樂,正與在公園認識的小朋友一起攀爬著Monkey Bar,邊說:「現在不只我們每天來,下午小學生放學後,與晚上還有另一波人潮,許多大孩子可以像蜘蛛人一樣快速攀越繩索,順著Monkey Bar瘋狂地旋轉溜下來!」

守護自己的公園

蔡青樺是樂樂兩歲多時,在參加一次台北城市散步導覽時,接觸了「還我特色公園行動聯盟」(簡稱「特公盟」)。她發現身為一位家庭主婦與「全職媽媽」,也可以「改變」樂樂眼中不好玩的遊戲場。

蔡青樺先是詢問里長,里長推給了公部門,即公園的管理單位:台北市政府工務局公園路燈工程管理處(簡稱「公燈處」),她向公燈處表達希望改造牯嶺公園兒童遊戲場的需求,並且找到社區近一百人的連署。在奔走連署的過程中,受到感染的社區媽媽、阿公阿媽們,遇到里長也跟著「追」問進度,蔡青樺則「追」著承辦人。在蔡青樺與里民們不放棄地緊迫盯人下,公燈處從善如流,將牯嶺公園列入2018年「改善及更新工程」的名單中。

2019年初春改造完成的牯嶺公園,以超過250萬元的預算做了多元探索組合的溜滑梯、螺旋攀爬架,還有串連遊具與遊具之間的木椿。在當地社區媽媽意見參與下,推翻了原本設計只有90公分與120公分高的土丘,以及原本只有人造草的鋪面。因為對5歲的小朋友來說,沙丘太矮沒有挑戰,更不用說學齡兒童;而且大量人造草容易造成靜電,會「電」到小朋友,最後改成核心用自然材質的木屑、外圍用人造草鋪面。

牯嶺公園,只是「特公盟」這三年多來,由居民自發要求改造遊戲場的公園之一。「自己的公園自己救」的呼聲,從2015年台北市拆除一系列有危險的磨石子溜滑梯,以聚乙烯(PE)或玻璃纖維強化塑膠材質(FRP)俗稱「罐頭遊具」的設施所取代,由此引發了一位媽媽林亞玫的怒火開始。

不只我家附近的遊戲場被拆

「原本就有聽說台北知行公園、原住民文化主題公園的磨石子溜滑梯被拆,我還不以為意,結果拆到我家附近青年公園的水泥磨石子溜滑梯。我打電話詢問,公部門回答很簡單,因為年久失修,不安全,所以要拆。」特公盟的發起人、留著一頭短髮的林亞玫,說起開始關注兒童遊戲空間的緣由。

「青年公園有3個歷史悠久,卻十分有特色的遊具,鐵製溜滑梯、磨石子溜滑梯,以及為紀念太空人阿姆斯壯上月球做的太空堡壘,承載了許多人的回憶。」為了讓女兒小夏,還能繼續在她兒時的秘密基地遊玩,當全職媽媽前,曾在勤業會計師事務所擔任副理的林亞玫做好了圖文兼具的簡報,準備充份地向萬華區議員陳情。

這份捍衛「兒童遊戲權」的簡報,承載了重視兒童表意權與公民參與的力量,2015年底開始,簡報一路從議員、公燈處處長,到台北市政府公務局長,2018年甚至在柯文哲市長面前報告;台北市政府也願意傾聽民意,編列超過上千萬元的經費,興建超過卅座的特色與共融遊戲場,並且成為柯P競選時「兒童友善城市」的政績之一。

因為不只林亞玫,特公盟秘書長張雅琳家附近的大安森林公園也是相同情況,磨石子溜滑梯被拆,一樣以「罐頭遊具」複製貼上。張雅琳說:「2015年台北市原有76座磨石子溜滑梯,因為不符合CNS(中華民國國家標準)而不安全的緣故,拆了60座,只剩16座。大家都知道不同年齡層的孩子,需要不同刺激與挑戰,但我們戶外的遊戲場卻只是千篇一律的罐頭遊具!」

林亞玫與曾在外商公司擔任品牌經理的張雅琳,把對市府便宜行事的不解,分享給週遭同是媽媽的朋友們。透過社群網絡的串連,號召了超過上千位的連署,這群對政治冷感的媽媽們,為了自己孩子的遊戲空間,出來捍衛兒童遊戲權,找里長、議員溝通。就在2015年12月動員近一百位親子到台北市政府前陳情,「拒絕公園遊具罐頭化!」就此敲開了公部門的大門,展開「兒童遊戲場革命」。

安全性與特色遊具的拔河

其實,在與市府的協調會中,官員們提出必須依法行政的解釋,給了這些熱情的媽媽們當頭棒喝:「遊戲場的設施必須遵守中央的法規CNS!妳們要我們違法嗎?妳們要枉顧兒童的安全嗎?」

為了符合官員口中「安全」的規定,這些媽媽們打點完家務後,熬夜研讀有關遊戲場的法規,並成立線上小型讀書會。同時網羅不同領域的朋友,找英文好的翻譯國外的文獻,找職能治療師與兒童心理師提供有關兒童心理、幼教等相關知識,求教建築、景觀的專家學習看設計圖。

林亞玫與張雅琳因此號召有志一同的媽媽們成立了「還我特色公園行動聯盟」,以專業的知識與數據,要求政府興建符合在地需求的兒童遊戲場,而且兒童遊戲的空間要能有效提供孩子在不同身心發展階段中,所需的體能鍛鍊、感覺刺激和情緒支持。

透過網路的宣導與串聯,林亞玫說,有一個感動她的時刻。2016年底市府在中研公園會勘時,從中研院有十多人走出來,這是第一次她看到在地居民站出來,拒絕罐頭溜滑梯,共同參與遊戲場的改造。公燈處在這裏設置了兼顧不同年齡層的沙坑、圓盤型盪鞦韆、極限飛輪、搖搖馬、旋轉搖搖杯等各式遊具,以及台北市第一座取代黑色橡膠地墊的人工草皮。

林亞玫說:「我們要的不只是磨石子溜滑梯,或是一個盪鞦韆,我們要的是一個適合孩子的遊戲空間。」特公盟更希望公部門與設計師在規劃時納入「兒童的參與權」,聽聽兒童的聲音,了解他們遊戲的方式,設計符合兒童需求的遊戲空間。

以「沙坑」為例,從公部門的角度,沙坑常有貓狗來大小便,下完雨後更是不易維護。但對孩子而言,玩沙很療癒,堆沙可以發揮創造力。

為了把「沙坑」的重要性說清楚,特公盟因此請兒童心理師江淑蓉寫文章、投稿,她提到:「孩子在玩沙的世界裡可以發展自我、轉化情緒、激發創造力,沙可以接納孩子的一切,把他的內在世界建構表現出來。」再拿文章去與里長與公部門「理論」。

負責翻譯國外文獻的李玉華說,翻譯許多國外的文章,並且接觸國外倡議兒童權利的組織後,更加肯定「玩」對孩子身心能力完整發展的重要。

為了更了解國外的作法,特公盟的夥伴媽媽們,連出國玩,也把國外的遊戲場列為必玩的「景點」之一,帶著小孩一起去「考察」遊戲場。這樣的衝勁也感染了新北市的公務人員,出國玩,也順便「玩」外國公園的遊戲場,樹林區東昇公園以彩色織網設計兩層樓的主滑梯,就是承辦單位參考日本沖繩公園做出的成果。

特色遊戲場全省遍地開花

林亞玫還與夥伴們到台中、高雄,拿著A3大的海報,到各公園去宣導特公盟的理念,「自己的公園自己顧!」一直喊到喉嚨沙啞。很快地,這把要求改造的火,蔓延到新北市,「我的公園也想要有特色! 」吸引更多認同特公盟理念的「盟友」參加,桃園、台中、台南、新竹、基隆、高雄等各縣市,陸續跟進,進行遊戲場改造。

新北市由於有更大的空間可以利用,遊戲場的設施可以做到分齡、適能。以林口區為例,「小熊公園公23」是共融式遊戲場,不分年齡一起玩;「樂活公園」則為挑戰型,4米高超陡溜滑梯與鏤空攀爬網,適合大一些的孩子,可以學松鼠般在網間穿梭;中和的錦和公園設計了6米高攀爬網和28米長的滾輪滑梯;號稱「五星級」的員山公園還有更具挑戰性、9.3米高的磨石子溜滑梯。

特公盟因此提出「衛星公園」的主張,以區域規劃的概念,藉由「分齡分區」的原則,來做到差異化的滿足,讓「不同的社區公園,可以陪伴孩子長大」。

街道就是我的遊戲場

然而,有許多人的家附近沒有遊戲場、沒有公園,孩子只能在家看電視、玩3C。作為倡議兒童遊戲權的組織,特公盟決定從公園走出去,除了繼續推動特色遊戲場的改造,今年訴求就是「街道就是我的遊戲場」。

透過群眾募資,今年將舉辦3場「馬路變遊戲場」活動,為孩子爭取更多自由遊戲的空間。第一場4月在台北市府廣場前,用紙箱、木板、泡泡進行各種街道遊戲。特公盟主張,只要經過社區、里的同意,可以申請「封街」,像「選舉造勢、藝術踩街、嘉年華封街」一樣,讓小朋友到街道遊玩,甚至鄰里的居民也可以走出來認識彼此,社區共融。

聯合國《兒童權利公約》第31條規定中,保障兒童的遊戲權,因為孩子是透過遊戲理解這個世界,孩子在遊戲中學習。就像特公盟所引用天野秀昭教授的話:「孩子不能玩耍,靈魂就會死去。孩子的靈魂是成人的責任。」                   

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EN

A Playground Revolution

Restoring Children's Right to Play

Esther Tseng /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

“One gains strength upon becoming a mother.” The fortitude of the mothers in the advocacy group “Parks and Playgrounds for Children by Children” bears witness to the truth of this Chinese idiom. “Our children inspired us to gain expertise and fight for their right to play.” These women have mobilized through social media. They have written opinion pieces and crafted presentations to make their case in front of government departments, with whom they have helped to install playground equipment in parks. They have exhorted local residents with the slogan, “Your park, your responsibility.” And over the last three years, they have helped to establish more than 100 playgrounds with special character, changing the face of playgrounds in Taiwan forever.

 


 

“Back when there was just plastic play equipment, it wasn’t much fun, and my two-year-old daughter would get bored and constantly tug at my hand, saying, “Mama, play with me.” A mover and shaker behind the revamping of Tai­pei City’s Gu­ling Park, Tsai Ching­-hua watches her daughter Lele play happily on the monkey bars with a friend she met at the park. “It’s no longer just us coming every day,” she notes. “In the afternoon, after the elementary schools let out, and in the evening too, there are additional waves of users. A lot of the bigger kids can scamper across that net like Spider-Man and crazily spiral down the monkey bars!”

Park defenders

When her daughter was two, Tsai took part in a walking tour of Tai­pei City, which introduced her to Parks and Playgrounds for Children and by Children (PPCC). She discovered that even a “full-time mother” and housewife like herself could effect change at the playground that her Lele thought wasn’t any fun.

Tsai first inquired of the neighborhood chief, who referred her to the agency responsible for the parks: the Parks and Street Lights Office (PSLO) of the Tai­pei City Government. She explained to the PSLO the need for a better playground at Gu­ling Park, and she persuaded nearly 100 people in the community to sign a petition. Under the doggedly watchful eye of Tsai and other neighborhood residents, the PSLO promptly responded by placing Gu­ling Park on the 2018 “improvements and renovations” list.

In the early spring of this year, improvements were completed at Gu­ling at a cost of over NT$2.5 million. The playground now includes integrated jungle gyms as well as slides and other equipment, all connected by wooden frameworks.

Guling Park is but one example of PPCC’s efforts to support local residents’ calls to revamp their parks. The origins of the group, with its slogan “Your park, your respons­ibil­ity,” trace back to 2015, when Tai­pei City tore out a series of dangerous terrazzo slides and replaced them with generic PE or fiberglass playground equipment. It was at that point that a local mother named Zoe Lin, who would go on to found PPCC, began to get ­angry. 

Tearing out playground equipment

Lin, who sports a pixie cut, recalls how changes to children’s playground spaces first caught her attention. “Originally, when I heard that the terrazzo slides at Tai­pei’s Zhi­xing Park and Indigenous People’s Park were getting torn down, I didn’t think anything about it. Then they also tore down the terrazzo slides in the Tai­pei Youth Park near my house. I called to inquire about that, and the PSLO simply replied that ‘they were torn down because they were unsafe.’”

“The Tai­pei Youth Park had three outstanding historical installations of playground equipment: metal slides, terrazzo slides, and a ‘space fort’ com­memor­ating Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. These feature prominently in memories that are dear to many locals.” So that her daughter Xiao­xia could experience the same pleasures, Zoe Lin, who had been an assistant manager at Deloitte Taiwan before becoming a full-time mom, prepared a report with text and graphics for a Tai­pei City councilor representing the Wan­hua District.

This “defense briefing,” which was named “Children’s Right to Play,” brought with it an emphasis on children’s rights of expression and on the power of public participation. Beginning in late 2015, the report was passed along from the city councilor to the PSLO director, then to the director of Tai­pei’s Public Works Department, and finally to Mayor Ko Wen-je. Listening to public opinion, the city government budgeted over NT$10 million to build more than 30 themed playgrounds. It became one of the accomplishments that Ko’s 2018 reelection campaign touted with regard to making Tai­pei a “child-friendly city.”

A similar situation had occurred at Daan Park, near the home of Ariel ­Zhang, PPCC’s secretary general. ­Zhang says, “In 2015, 60 of the original 76 terrazzo slides in the park were torn down for safety reasons, leaving only 16.”

Zhang had previously been a brand manager for a trading company. Feeling that the city government was handling these decisions about playgrounds in a thoughtless and perfunctory manner, she and Lin started to share their thoughts with other mothers around them and connect with them on social media. In December of 2015 nearly 100 mothers and their children held a demonstration in front of Tai­pei City Hall. “No generic solutions for parks!” they chanted. In this manner, they knocked on government’s door and launched the “children’s playground revolution.”

Tug of war: Safety vs. character

In truth, City Hall was receptive and willing to co­operate. Civil servants explained that the city government had to follow relevant legal requirements, giving these enthusiastic mothers a reality check: “Does the playground equipment conform to Taiwan’s CNS safety standards? Do you want us to break the law? Do you want us to ignore children’s safety?”

To get a handle on safety regulations, these mothers would stay up at night after finishing their housework, studying relevant laws and regulations. They established small online reading groups and contacted friends in different fields, enlisting those proficient in English to translate foreign best practice guidelines, and occupational therapists and child psychologists to provide knowledge about children’s minds, education and so forth. From architects and landscape architects, they learned how to read blueprints and design drawings.

Lin and ­Zhang brought together other likeminded mothers to create PPCC, drawing on specialist data and knowledge to push the city government to provide children with play equipment that meets their needs for physical exercise, sensory stimulation and emotional support at different stages of their physical and mental development.

PPCC hopes that government departments and designers will consider children’s “right to participation” when making plans. It wants government to listen to children’s voices, gain understanding of how they play, and design play spaces that meet their needs.

Special playgrounds throughout Taiwan

Lin even went with fellow members of the group to Tai­chung and Kao­hsiung, promoting the stands taken by PPCC with posters made on A3-size paper. They would chant, “Your park, your responsibility!” until their voices were hoarse. Soon the campaign spread to New Tai­pei City: “Our parks need character too!” The movement continued to attract likeminded citizens, making waves in Tao­yuan, Tai­chung, Hsin­chu, Kee­lung, Kao­hsiung, and other locations.

Because there is generally more space available in New Tai­pei City, playgrounds there can be designed more to meet the needs of particular age groups and abilities than in Tai­pei City. Take Lin­kou District: Its “Bear Cub Park 23” has an inclusive playground that accommodates children of different ages to play together. LOHAS Park, on the other hand, is more challenging and thus suited to older children, with climbing nets and slides that exceed four meters in height. The youngsters scurry across the nets like squirrels.

PPCC advocates the concept of “satellite parks” located in different areas of a locality, with each park catering to the needs of a different age group, and children switching between the parks as they grow.

The streets are my playground

Yet there are many children who lack parks and playgrounds near their homes, and thus have little choice but to stay home and watch television or play video games. As an organization advocating for children’s right to play, PPCC has moved beyond its campaign to construct playgrounds in parks and has made a new appeal this year: “The street is my playground!” 

Via crowdfunding, the organization is holding three activities this year around that slogan, helping children acquire more space for free play. The idea is that with a community’s support, parents can apply to “close a street” in the same way as they get closed for election rallies, art fairs or New Year’s celebrations. Children will be able to play in the street and local residents can come out and get to know each other. It can help build a sense of community.

Article 31 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child demands recognition of children’s right to play, because children use play to understand the world and to learn. That brings to mind an observa­tion by professor Hi­de­aki ­Amano: “If children can’t play, their souls die. Children’s souls are adults’ respons­ibility.”                                     

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