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Everybody’s Playground

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      Having a handicapped accessible playground was always a dream for special educational teacher,
April South. She often stated that it “wasn’t fair” that her students had to sit on the sidewalk and
watch their peers as they happily and freely played on the playground. When April suddenly passed
away in June 2011, several of her best friends founded “April’s Angels.” April’s Angels was formed
to benefit the area of special needs at Itawamba Attendance Center, a mission for which April was a
staunch advocate.
The school only possesses one swing. It is inside a special educational classroom, and the
children fight over it. Rocking and rhythmic motions are very soothing to many children with
special needs. This proposed playground is unique because it will be all-inclusive.  There will be sensory
panels for children who are tactile learners. There will be auditory panels (train whistle and echo phone)
for children who love been stimulated by sound.
The poured rubber surface will allow students with wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches to easily
maneuver to the wheelchair ramp where they can gain access to a whole new exciting world!
Imagine seeing a child who has never slid down a slide be able to go down the very first time! A
third grade student with special needs at IAC stated last year, “I see other kids playing, and it looks
fun. [When I sit on the sidewalk] it’s frustrating.” That same child brought us his $5 the toothfairy
brought him and asked if it would be enough for us to build the playground.
Studies have proven that children learn independence and self-direction in play. Its purpose is to
provide skills for adulthood. Either you learn it in your childhood or you can’t do it as an adult.
We want this to be be “Everybody’s Playground” where the students can foster friendships through
all-inclusive play.

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