Yorktown, N.Y. – 10/17/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) joined students, teachers and administration from Thomas Jefferson Elementary School to celebrate the opening of a new “inclusive” playground at the school on Gomer Street in Yorktown on Friday.
Senator Greg Ball successfully secured $60,000 in state aid to help make the playground possible.
“I was honored to help Thomas Jefferson Elementary School secure the funding to make this inclusive playground possible. It is inspiring to know that this playground was designed and built to suit the needs of all students, including those with sensory disorders, autism and students confined to a wheelchair,” said Senator Greg Ball. “Furthermore, this playground will keep students active and help combat obesity. Childhood obesity is an epidemic that we are just beginning to grapple with the reality and consequences. Physical conditioning is a critical component of a broader education and these early building blocks set the stage for future health.”
“The importance of the new playgrounds were to respond to the diverse needs of students in our school and community. The existing playground were dated and did not allow for inclusive play opportunities,” explained Principal Dr. Karen Gagliardi.
“Our TJPTA and Principal were instrumental in securing the means to make this a reality for the students of TJ,” added Dr. Gagliardi. Parents (some of whom were architects), teachers, students, special educators, occupational therapists, physical therapist, administrators, buildings and grounds staff, secretaries, and our school nurse came together to share ideas about meeting the needs of our students and working to make that happen, explained Dr. Gagliardi. “Ultimately, through the Senator’s support and Lakeland’s Central Office support our TJ inclusive playground became a reality.” she added.
The Thomas Jefferson playground equipment selected in considered “Inclusive” meaning: An inclusive playground is one that invites and welcomes everyone, not just the families who are typical, but ones with children and parents with sensory processing disorder, autism and people of all ages in wheelchairs, not just the children.
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