Pupils at the Lentegeur school for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) dashed inside their school’s first disability-friendly park as soon as the ribbon was cut on Thursday.
The state-of-the-art facility makes it easier for children with disabilities to enjoy activities like swinging and spinning, which many were unable to previously. It includes wheelchair swings, a wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round, sandpits and a jungle gym.
The project was created by the Nordex Group, who sponsored R345 000 towards the project after a former pupil, Cecil Muller, spoke to a staff member about his school.
“I met Cecil in the Promenade Shopping Centre and he started talking to me about his school. I never heard of the school before and I decided to see for myself where the school was.
“When I got here, I spoke to the school members and they said that they needed equipment. That’s when the wish-list started,” said Nordex Group accountant, Caroline Hendricks.
School occupational therapist Joanna Deane said the park was needed and would assist with the physical and mental development of the pupils by enhancing the learning programme at the school.
“We identified the need to have suitable play equipment to accommodate all pupils and strive towards an inclusive and accessible play environment. This idea has become a reality and the end product is a beautiful and safe play area for all our children with special needs,” said Deane.
Head of specialised education for metropole south Guilot de Klerk shared her excitement about the project and said that it created an ideal environment for work to take place through play.
“Playing is a full body activity that helps them develop skills they need. Running, dancing, climbing, rolling, these activities all foster muscle development,” said De Klerk.