A Carl Junction project is attempting to help students play in an inclusive environment.

It means that many kids will have the chance to play with other children that they’ve never had the opportunity to do before. A few of the play grounds in the Carl Junction School District are going to get a remodel thanks to the “Power of Play” Project. The redesign will make it so kids with disabilities can more easily play with their classmates.

“We are wanting to resurface the playground. Add that rubber floor in place. It’s cushioned and it allows really easy accessibility for kids in wheelchairs or those in walkers or canes. And then we want to add new structures that all kids can play on together. This includes ramps, safety swings, and sensory friendly equipment,” says Heather Linscheid, CJ School District occupational therapist.

Each playground remodel is estimated to cost nearly five hundred thousand dollars with much of the funding coming from grants and donations from business and private donors from around the country. Special education teacher Sarah Knust says that some of her students have been disappointed because they can’t play with the other kids during recess.

“They want to be part of all of it. They want to be included,” says Sarah Knust.

And it makes it difficult for what she teaches in class to be enhanced during play time.

“My job is that I teach a lot of social skills and it’s really hard because one of the times we do that is out on the playground. And when you have those kids that your teaching those skills to hiding from the others because there’s that sensory overload or they just don’t know how to interact with each other. It’s difficult,” says Knust.

“It helps other kids gain empathy and understanding. That hey we’re all kids together and we can play and learn from each other,” says Heather Linscheid.

The first phase of the project includes the 2nd through 6th grade playground is planned to be completed by August 2019. This is one of three potential projects of this kind the district could take on.