Oct 3, 2023
The playground outside Riley Elementary School was abuzz on Monday, Aug. 28, as the Rams community celebrated the new structure with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Free play outside benefits students in a variety of ways,” said Dr. Michael Connolly, superintendent of Community Consolidated School District 21, during the ceremony. “Aside from an outlet for their energy, our students learn about leadership, independence, cooperation, responsibility, teamwork and creative problem-solving on the playground.”
In an effort to meet the needs of the Riley community, the district enhanced the featured elements beyond accessible equipment and surfaces – a goal as it looks to renovate all of its playgrounds.
The space, one of the few totally accessible playgrounds in the area, includes a communication board that allows for non-vocal students to express their needs and wants; one board each for Braille and sign language; two adaptive swings; and a number of musical instruments around the perimeter to allow for alternative purposeful play.
“It’s a wonderful commitment to our students and allows equity for all,” said Riley Principal Nicole Bellini. “This special structure allows our entire student population at Riley to be included in activities.”