Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

New Magical Bridge playground success at El Carmelo

Divya Gandhi
The new Magical Bridge playground at El Carmelo is gaining positive attention from the Palo Alto community since it opened. Nicole Maculi, the PTA President of El Camelo appreciates the add in to the school, and all that it brings. “It’s a truly magical experience for us and it’s brought a lot of magic and happiness and excitement to our school,” Maculi said.

A new Magical Bridge Playground is receiving attention at El Carmelo Elementary School after opening on Oct. 18 with the goal of having all-inclusive playgrounds for kids. Nicole Maculi, PTA President at El Carmelo, said she has noticed how the new playground has gained popularity and appreciation within the school’s community.

“We’ve never had as many people come and just enjoy it [the playground],” Maculi said. “Parents are definitely very excited about it and really happy and grateful that we got the opportunity to have it at our school,” 

According to Olenka Villarreal, founder of Magical Bridge foundation, Magical Bridge playgrounds aim to create a place where people, regardless of factors like age and ability, could all come and be able to have fun.

“We believe that regardless of what that child needs, if they need a quiet space, if they need movement, if they need imagination, they should have that as an option,” Villarreal said. 

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The Magical Bridge Foundation was created to make an “organic reimagination of a public playground” all for children with and without disabilities and special needs. 

“I realized our public parks were not as inclusive as they (were) advertised to be,” Villarreal said. “All parks are inclusive, but they’re not the kind you’re looking for.”

Maculi said that the parents appreciate the school having a playground that offers new opportunities to kids. 

“We can make sure everybody’s included and feels like they’re part of our community,” Maculi said. “…especially with special ed kids, you know, it’s amazing that there’s things that all kids can enjoy.”

In the future, El Carmelo hopes to partner with Magical Bridge again.

This collaboration has been a goal for Magical Bridge, as they hope to eventually create these playgrounds in all Palo Alto elementary schools. 

“I would like Palo Alto to show their commitment to all students by agreeing to make all the playgrounds inclusive,” Villarreal said.