All students, including those with special needs, must keep mentally and physically fit. Children with special needs most definitely benefit from having a balance in all aspects of their life: social, physical and mental. Specifically benefits include (depending on their situation): coordination, flexibility, improved endurance, better balance, improved motor skills, sense of accomplishment and improved quality of life.
The special needs students at Havelock Elementary School do not have a play space that addresses their specific needs. These students must use the same playground as the other students. While some pieces of playground equipment can easily be used by these special needs students, most cannot be and this equipment is not close to their classroom. After much discussion, the teachers (Delaney Fischer, Cinthia Keller) and Principal Kathy Barber, decided the school should apply for a Bate grant to provide outdoor play equipment for these special needs students.
This project, entitled “Special Fun for All!” will take several years to completed. The $4,891 funding through Partners In Education from The Bate Foundation Individual School Grant program, which was awarded to Havelock Elementary School, will allow the school to purchase outdoor play equipment appropriate for the special needs students. The new playground will be accessible from the back door of their classroom. The school has purchased an outdoor double-sided paint station which has clearance for wheelchairs. They will be installing a two-bay swing set with a total of four swings. One swing will allow for a wheel chair to be rolled onto the platform. Another provides full support for children who are unable to hold their heads up. The remaining two will be bucket swings. They also have on order a mini-chime station and a drum station.
Dr. Kathy Barber, principal at Havelock Elementary, can’t wait to see the special needs children playing with the new equipment. Special needs teacher Delaney Fischer said she is getting excited about the prospect of the new playground equipment. She said, “The experience that children most remember is playing on a swing. It stimulates their senses. It’s a game changer for our special needs students!”
Congratulations to Dr. Barber and the students at Havelock Elementary School!
For information on Partners in Education, the local education foundation for Craven County Schools, contact Executive Director Darlene Brown via email. PIE website: CravenPartners.com.
Submitted by: Darlene Brown, Craven Partners In Education