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Third graders design inclusive playground to so they can play with their classmates

By Andy Alcock

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    LANSING, Kansas (KMBC) — Third graders at Lansing Elementary School have come up with a solution to a problem.

With two of their classmates in wheelchairs and a third who needs a walker, all their friends can’t enjoy their playground at recess.

“I’m really mad about it because it’s not fair that not everyone gets to play on the playground,” third grader Finley Kowalewski said.

The students went to their teacher Christina Mills with a solution, a dream playground all their classmates could use.

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“We just like playing with them because they’re part of the class, and they’re our friends,” third grader Braiden Ling said

Mills and another teacher at the school helped the students design their accessible playground.

It includes a flat wheelchair-accessible surface.

The current playground has rubber chunks making it difficult to roll a wheelchair on the surface.

The dream playground has five pieces of equipment, all wheelchair accessible.

They are a “We Go Round”, a “We Go Swing”, a “Sway Fun” with springs, a “Roller Slide” and a “Sensory Toys” area.

On Monday night, several students presented their plan to the Lansing Schools Board of Education, including Ali Brooks.

“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,” she said.

“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,” Mills said. “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.”

The project’s total cost is estimated at more than $1 million.

The school is in the process of applying for a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The grant would pay half the cost, with the other half coming from matching funds.

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