SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — An activity as simple as playing outside on the playground is something many of us have probably taken for granted at some point in our lives. But for children with special needs, that seemingly simple task is a dream.
Lemons Mill Elementary is Scott County is making sure all children can play side by side at recess, by creating an inclusive playground.
But the school needs help.
Seven-year-old Kaz Clay is the self-proclaimed mayor of Lemons Mill Elementary.
“Yeah, it is cool,” said Kaz.
The 2nd-grader has a bold personality. He also has cerebral palsy, which makes going outside for recess a challenge … and he let his principal know it.
“He said, ‘Mrs. Housekeeper, I want you to watch me walk through the mulch,'” said Tabetha Housekeeper. “He said it’s really hard to get through the mulch when it’s rainy and muddy outside.”
Kaz’s example opened Housekeeper’s eyes to just how important it is that every child, no matter their ability, can get outside and play.
Soon, the idea of an inclusive playground was born.
“That is one our biggest, most important needs in a school, is that kids can have fresh air,” said Housekeeper. “The socialization part of recess is huge.”
The additions and adjustments for the playground will cost about $100,000.
The student body is on board: students have raised about $16,000 in just four days to get the ball rolling.
The goal is to have the playground complete by the time Kaz finishes 5th grade.
“I wanna see kids playing on it and how they feel about it, and i think it will be a good fit for kids that can’t play right now to where we could get by 5th grade,” Kaz said.
Housekeeper has no doubt they’ll reach the goal, thanks to the enthusiasm of the students.
She said the project is about more than building a playground … it’s also about building good citizens who care about the people around them.
“Their character and the character they’re going to leave here with is much more important than their As and Bs on their report card,” she said.