Inclusive playground opens at Bay Harbor Elementary School in Suamico

Local News

SUAMICO, Wis. (WFRV) All children, regardless of their age and abilities, deserve a place where they can play together. Such a place was dedicated Wednesday morning by the Howard-Suamico School District.

Outside Bay Harbor Elementary School, a new playground is dedicated. It is an inclusive facility where Principal Tony Ebeling says kids of all abilities can play together and have lots of fun.

“When we say all hands on deck – and all means all –  this really solidifies that all piece,” said Ebeling.

This playground was constructed here in part because Bay Harbor Elementary School is home to the Early Childhood: Special Education Program, serving students with various disabilities, sensory deficits and limited mobility.

“Our school houses the students that have really significant disabilities,” Ebeling said.

And Special Education Instructor Michele Otradovec was among a group of staff that worked for over a year to make this playground a reality.

“We’re just wanting something that all the kids could play together with no limitations and today is the day that it came true,” she said.

With a soft rubber surface to keep kids safe the playground offers wheelchair friendly ramps allowing easy access. Even a merry-go-round with ground-level entry.

“It’s flush to the floor and a wheelchair can go in there and friends can go in there and they can spin around like any other playground,” said Otradovec.

Josh Lawrence’s son attends the school and both came out to try this playground, designed to let kids be kids.

“Everybody wants to be included and what better way to bring kids together then on a playground,” Lawrence said.

“Everybody is just a kiddo and that’s what is awesome,” Otradovec said.

A place where disabilities disappear.

“By us being able to celebrate kids and having them play right next to each other, it just further goes to say we are all equal,” said Ebeling.

This is the first inclusive playground to be built in the Howard-Suamico School District.

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