NKY school getting all-accessible, fully inclusive playground

NKY school getting all-accessible, fully inclusive playground

FLORENCE, Ky. (FOX19) - A Northern Kentucky school is getting an all-accessible, fully inclusive playground structure.

Erpenbeck Elementary decided to create a playground for kids with all abilities throughout the community.

The Boone County School district has around 2,500 students with various needs.

Aubrey is a second grader at Erpenbeck. Her favorite part of the school day, like most kids her age, is going outside for recess.

“That’s probably one of the harder issues that we have is finding places where we can take all of the kids,” says Aubrey’s mom, Nola Smith.

Thanks to a team of passionate and driven teachers, students, parents, and members of the community, the school is able to put in the structure. It will be open to the public after school hours and a place where Aubrey, her family, and kids with all abilities can play together.

“I think she’s looking forward to being able to ambulate the park a little bit easier without having somebody right next to her because it creates a sense of independence for her that she doesn’t necessarily get,” says Smith.

Principal Jessica Pass along with Assistant Principal Jonathan Stefanopoulos broke the exciting news to students through a YouTube video.

" We found out that some of our students are missing out on some opportunities where they can independently interact with their peers,” says Stefanopoulos. “The good thing is students in walkers and wheelchairs can independently access this playground through the ramp. They will have access to the whole playground structure so all of the slides, all the different panels, they can turn around and move. There will be plenty of space for them to navigate the whole structure.”

Parent Adrienne Reed has two children that attend the elementary school, a second and third grader.

She is also a PTSO Board Member who has seen the outpouring support.

“When I sat down to talk with my own children about this, of course they were very excited to know they are getting a brand new playground and that’s for them, but we actually took it a little deeper to explain what this means for our community and for their classmates, peers, kids in the community that don’t get the opportunity to go up into a playset,” says Reed.

This playground will be a place where kids can learn, play, navigate, but more importantly, come together.

“I’m just really glad that our school is very Cognizant and aware of all the different populations that they serve and that they make an active effort every single year to make sure everybody feels a part of the community,” says Smith.

It’s going to be a 6-8 week process to build the structure.

When the equipment arrives, the school will do a community build which will take about a week to complete.

They hope to have the playground up by May.

The school is thankful for everyone who has contributed and set a goal of $35,000 for the new playground.

They would obviously love to exceed that goal to add more amenities and expand playground options for all children with various needs.

If you are wanting helping out, you can email jessica.pass@boone.kyschools.us.

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