CADES logo

CADES Inclusive Playground and Music Garden

Thank you for visiting the CADES Inclusive Playground and Music Garden webpage.

Our vision for our playground is a place where everyone gets to play together- where difference is learned about, understood, and appreciated, which will help our community grow and thrive. We see a playground where children who use mobility devices like wheelchairs and gait trainers can ride the same equipment with children who do not. Where children who use adaptive switches can connect with interactive panels and play games with children who do not. Where children can find their “just right zone” by playing the chimes in our Music Garden or getting a little sensory relief in our Zen Zone. 

CADES Playground Summer Hours 2024

Frequently Asked Questions:

To learn more about our playground, check out our FAQs below, as well as some information about the equipment.


  • Since CADES operates an approved private school through the PA Department of Education from September to July, the CADES Inclusive Playground and Music Garden will be open to the public on: 
    • Weekdays: 4:00 PM to Dusk 
    • Weekends: Dawn to Dusk
  • During the month of August, the CADES Inclusive Playground and Music Garden will be open to the public 7 days a week from dawn to dusk. 
  • The exceptions to these hours will be federal holidays and/or when schools are not in session. 
  • Changes to this schedule will be announced through our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor) as well as this website. 
Use of any of the playground equipment is at your own risk.
  • That is our pavilion, and it has seen its fair share of birthday parties over the years. That space is available “first come, first serve,” so you do not need to contact CADES to reserve the area.
  • We ask that if you would like to host a gathering on our playground that you:
    • do it during public hours,
    • make sure you leave the playground and pavilion area like you found it (such as disposing of all waste in the trash cans, taking any uneaten food or drinks with you, etc.),
    • consider making a donation to our Playground Maintenance Fund so we can continue to keep our playground open for our students as well as the public.
      • You can make a donation by using the QR code that can be found on our playground mural or by clicking here.

We do have 24-7 recorded video surveillance, so if there is any damage to the equipment on either playground area we will work with the authorities and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We want this playground to be available to generations of kids and families, and we have to protect it.

CADES does not own or maintain the track and field area next to our playground and parking lot. That area is owned and operated by the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

  • We ask that service animals be the only pets allowed on either of our playground areas to prevent damage to the playground surfaces and any of the equipment.
  • You can always direct message us on any of our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), or you can reach out to our Director of Communications JP Pedergnana at 

Thank you to all our wonderful donors listed below!

Aidalis Santini, Archna Bhasin, Stephen Allman, Nisa Betts, Jacqueline Cahill, Kathryn Cloyd, Caragh Corsi, Julie Guerin, Kate Hoffman, Rick Robinson, The Sacker Family, Hannah Covert, Emily Johnson, Mariko Karita, Wesley Church AME of Swarthmore, Cuilin Xiong, Barbara Smith, Stephanie Frankel, Danielle Gibson, Jenny Hyde, Marc Lovenworth, Rick Scanlan, Ruvim Yadlovsky, Julie Brown, Pat Welsh, Joanne Shallcross, George Whitfield, Mike Mastrangelo, The Merz Family, Mary Gene Woods, Chas Caruso, Uncommon Individual Foundation, J.C. Vonholtz, Bridget Guarino, Fritz Ward, John Neary, GREGORY LIEB, Lorraine Parkinson, Marie Fenza, Abigail Kasselakis, Edward Little, Eileen Cunniffe, Jessica Brill, Marguerite Caldwell, Rose Marie Cunniffe, Jennifer Osborne, Jenny Montague, Rebecca Gerber, Hairstylist for Men, Anne-Marie McClung, Barb & Frank Travaglini, J.R. Gabkee, Jill & Edward Kornn, Jim McCambridge, Jo Ann Shaw, Lauri Cielo, Linda & Kevin Gill, Linda & Richard Rafferty, Nancy & Anthony Dambro, Sue Whai Henderson, Susan & Robert Dawes, Suzanne Welsh, Thomas Brogan, William Stulginsky, Ann Henderson, Jessica Massey, Jofi Dawes, Victoria Carpenter, Benjamin LeVeque, Danielle Silberman, Emily Spengler, Margarita Lorch, PPS Print Solutions, Allison Karpyn, Barbara Hogan, John Jones, Lorraine & John Foglio, Sharon & Michael O'Sullivan, Erna Smeets, Gerald Coyne, Huu Ngo, Hyalker Amaral, Nancy West, Anne Cocos, Network for Good, Charles Nistico, Karen Spielman, Toni & Richard Bonnette, Johnson & Johnson, Jane and Paul Billings, John Subacus, Lauren Winchester, Maura Rubley, Cindi Clark, Jeffrey Savery, Kathy Hushen, Stephen Wagner, Jon-Paul Pedergnana, Sara Kelly, Anonymous Anonymous, Jessie Robinson, Sandra Montalvo, Alena Subacus, Richard Coe, Robert & Marianne Schuster, Carole & Andy DeBernardi, Monroe Energy, LLC, Yvonne McGinley, Jim Shirley, Wawa Foundation, Dr. & Mrs. Eugene W. Hickok, Valerie & Jason Cannon, Julie Alleman,

PAST UPDATES: CADES Inclusive Playground Transformation

Hi everyone! The latest update from CADES and our playground construction: Preparation will be underway next week to begin pouring the brand-new rubberized surface. Demolition of the small playground in between our building and Paulsen Park will also begin in the next week or so, so both surfaces can be poured at the same time. Please enjoy these updated pictures of the new play deck and swing bay, and the stands that will provide shade when they are complete!
inclusive playground
Shade was apparently a big deal in the planning of this new playground 🙂.

Playground Construction Update: 

  1. As of 2/21/23, demolition of the previous playground is almost complete. Thank you again for all of your patience and understanding. As of now, that leaves us on-schedule to begin installation of our playground equipment in March!
  2. If you would like to learn more about how we got to this point, click here to check out the full version of the article we published in The Swarthmorean on January 27th.

After a quiet final week of January, our construction crews will begin the demolition of the current playground on Monday, February 6th, weather permitting. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and the noise, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

After years of planning, we are going to begin construction of our new inclusive playground and sound garden! We will continue to fundraise over the next few months so we can complete the project, but have decided that our individuals, staff, and our communities should not wait any longer! Above you will find a brief FAQ with relevant information around timelines, agreements, accessibility, and other considerations, as well as contact information for any questions or concerns.

We cannot wait to share this playground with everyone, and will continue to update you here with any new information. In the meantime, please consider donating so that we can complete this project and get everyone playing at CADES again this Spring!

It has been a busy few weeks here at CADES as we continue to raise funds to bring our playground back! Thank you to everyone who attended Quizzo at Ship Bottom last week! A few hours of trivia helped us raise almost $1000. We are also so grateful to Maura Rubley, a resident in Swarthmore who organized a Halloween block party that raised another $1500. Along with the donations we received on our website, we have raised another $3202 since our last update two weeks ago.

We have now received over $15000 from our community since launching this campaign, and thank all of the people whose names you see below for helping us get to our goal in bringing this playground back to our community!

Use the red button above to make a donation now!

This week we raised $10,991.70 to bring our playground back, giving us a total of approximately $12,000 since we kicked off our community campaign a few weeks ago. This week, we want to shout out our incredible Parent-Teacher Organization Representative and Transition Program stalwart Linda Tucker, whose Designer Bag Bingo event back in the spring also raised over $10,000.

In that same vein, people from our community have reached out to organize events on our behalf, which we are so grateful for, including a Halloween-themed block party organized by a parent who is dedicated to helping us bring our playground back, Quizzo at Ship Bottom next week, and be on the lookout for an amazing event at WaR3house 3 in November!

You can help us by taking the time to attend these events if you are available, and of course, make a donation! If you have ever enjoyed our CADES playground, please help us bring it back.

We had a busy week, attending the Swarthmore Fun Fair, coming out in support of HEADstrong, and planning for our mural unveiling (check out our events page)!

In the week since our last update, we have raised over $2,000 from our community, which includes donations made to us online and donations made during the Swarthmore Fun Fair! We are beyond grateful, and you can see here the names of those who are already helping us in our effort to bring our playground back!

For this week’s update, we have a clip from a recent meeting we had with our GCMS parents, where our CEO Julie Alleman laid out exactly how our playground will live up to its “inclusive” name. We hope you enjoy!

Hello Friends of CADES –

Watch it here

Pretty sweet right! Welcome to our latest playground transformation update! In addition to giving an inside look at what we are planning for the new playground based on the feedback we received from our surveys and focus groups, we also want to give you an update on how close we are to getting there!

As of this update, our Development Team has been able to raise over $800,000 towards our new Inclusive Playground project, which includes grants from generous foundations, donations from our board of directors, some local businesses and vendors, CADES employees, as well as some families, and friends of individuals who participate in our programs, just to name a few!

With a target of just over $1 Million, we will continue to fundraise, but we believe that with at least $50,000 from families and friends, both locally and beyond, we will have enough money to begin construction in the spring and open our new playground to the community in the summer!

If you would like to donate, please click the link above. Anything that you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Each week, we will provide an update on this webpage with our progress towards that $50,000 goal, along with any new renderings and updates, as well as recognize all of the support you are providing both here and on our social media accounts.

Thank you again for your support!

Tune in next week!

What has happened: 

  • The “useful life” for playground surfaces and equipment is 15 to 20 years.
  • The decision was made in October to close the playground because we could no longer patch the playing surface, and multiple pieces of equipment needed to be replaced.

Timelines & Detours 

  • We originally hoped to have the playground updated by late spring of this year and an official opening by September 2022.
  • However, the biggest challenge that we are encountering is the effects that the supply chain slowdowns have had on the shipment dates of any new playground equipment, thus affecting when we would be able to begin the work of building the new playground.
  • Our original goal to purchase equipment by June 1st will result in best-case scenario delivery sometime in mid-October, too late to pour and cure the playground surface after the equipment has been installed.
  • Our new timeline: install and opening between May – August 2023.


  • Playground equipment has evolved significantly in the past 20 years.  The play structure and numerous pieces of equipment will encourage inclusive play, where 2-4 children of all abilities can play together at the same time.
  • Our new playground will include:
    • A new play design, with ramps to mobilize to multiple places, high and low, and all around the main structure.
    • Launch pads for individuals to transition from wheelchair to the play structure.
    • Multiple (10+) inclusive play components.
    • A quiet playground, separate from the main play area for those who prefer less stimulation, need a place to warm up or a place to cool down.
    • A music garden! Yes! A new play space will be constructed to the right of the building with outdoor musical instruments that are part of a sensory garden for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic stimulation.
    • The adapted basketball court (back by popular demand!)
    • Shade to block direct sun in key areas of the playground (i.e. adapted swing area)


  • The playground renovation will cost just over $1 million to complete, and since November, we are almost three quarters of the way there! 
  • There will be a number of community fundraising activities coming up in the spring.  Please be on the lookout for:
    • Social Media campaigns designed to help us meet our financial goal. 
    • Invitations to events hosted by CADES and GCMS Parent Group coming spring and fall (such as Designer Bingo on May 21st!)
    • Community events in Wallingford, Swarthmore, Springfield, Media, Broomall, and Ridley, as well as through the Swarthmore Rec Association, to raise funds through the thousands of families who have played at the CADES Playground over the past 15 years.
  • Do you have personal or professional connections to local small businesses or larger corporations that are philanthropic? Share your contact information with our Director of Development Jessie Robinson (!


  • We have sought out and received essential feedback from GCMS staff focus groups, using the subject-matter expertise of occupational, physical, behavioral, vision, and speech therapists, paraeducators, teachers, and administrators to make recommendations for what equipment and design would provide BIG impact.
  • Our structural engineer, Nick Cirilli, of Cirilli Associates, who is more than just a “vendor,” with decades of experience supporting building projects at CADES, has completed the environmental site survey, which is now in the hands of our playground equipment vendor. 
  • Using the feedback from our focus groups as well as the site survey, our playground equipment vendor will be preparing a first draft of both of our playground areas, which will then undergo another round of feedback. 

Interim Plan for Play 

  • We know this delayed opening is disappointing to say the least, and we share that feeling.
  • Beginning in the spring, we will be working closely with staff to provide opportunities to get outside as well as create temporary outdoor play activities.

Next Steps 

  • We will continue to update you as decisions, events and picture renderings become available (click the link above to see the summary of our inclusive playground plan). We recognize the continued sacrifice the playground closure means to you and your family.  We will do everything we can to make it worth the wait 😊. 

"It's kind of hard to put into words how I feel about you guys and how much you've done for William. We'll be forever and always grateful."

Volunteer at CADES

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Social Media Fundraising for CADES

Help CADES by using your social media influencing skills to support our playground project! Please fill out this form and we will get back to you promptly.