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One of the beauties of children is their belief that there’s a solution for all problems. And this was just the case for a group of third graders from Lansing Elementary School in Kansas.
The youngsters noticed that three of their classmates had disabilities — one requiring a walker and two a wheelchair. This meant these children couldn’t access the playground, and therefore couldn’t enjoy recess along with the rest of the class.
As a frustrated third grader, Finley Kowalewski, shared: “I’m really mad about it because it’s not fair that not everyone gets to play on the playground.”
So the class got together to talk about the issue with their teacher, Christina Mills, and she — along with another teacher — decided to help the students design their dream playground.
An inclusive design
The design includes a “We Go Round,” a “We Go Swing,” a “Sway Fun” with springs, a “Roller Slide,” and a “Sensory Toys.” All the areas will be accessible by wheelchair, and the surface of the playground will be suitable for wheelchairs, unlike the current playground, which has rubber chunks making it tricky for a wheelchair to navigate.
As third grader Braiden Ling stated: “We just like playing with them because they’re part of the class, and they’re our friends.”
With the design complete, some of the young designers actually presented their ideas to the school board. Third grader Ali Brooks shared: “It was kind of scary at first, but then we got a little pep talk, and then it’s like a lot of people felt better about it.”
The school is waiting to find out if it will receive a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to pay for half the total costs of the re-design, which is estimated at $1 million. But even if the funds can’t be met, the project has shown just how inspiring our youngsters can be.
As, Kake.com pointed out, their teacher shared:
I can’t even begin to describe the pride I have for my kids. You know, we’re the Lansing Lions, and we always say we’re proud of the pride. But the amount of pride I feel for my students right now and what they’ve done is indescribable. These kids are so hungry to make sure that everyone is equal and everyone belongs, and a lot of adults could learn a lesson from these kids.”