Imran is a 15 year old boy who has a severe learning difficulty and autism. While he comes across like any other 15 year old, his development age is lower than his actual age and he really enjoys playing in the playground.
However, he would not be able to attend a standard playground in his local community. The Wooden Spoon playground at St Nicholas School in Kent allows Imran to play in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
St Nicholas School is a school providing education for over 190 children and young people aged between 4 and 19 who have profound, severe and complex learning difficulties.
Funding from Wooden Spoon Kent helped to renovate the school’s main playground to meet the diverse range of needs of all their pupils. This was a really exciting project that Imran and the rest of the school were able to contribute to. They undertook a sponsored walk in order to raise money and thus felt invested in the new playground.
The opening was one of the highlights of the school year and the delight on the children’s faces as they saw the trampoline, roundabouts, playground markings was a wonderful moment.
The previous playground was lacking in equipment and appropriate play stations, whereas the new one offers exciting opportunities for children to maximise their time at play. This is an important element for disabled children and means they can engage with each other and learn essential life skills through socialising, taking turns and being creative and imaginative. The classroom does not always afford these opportunities.
Imran struggles with communication and forming relationships, so this is vital. Pupils like Imran learn how to care for each other, be kind and help each other. Imran and his friends use the playground markings to practice crossing the road, and we it’s been noticed that road safety is much improved.
Imran’s mother, Vanessa Oakes said:
“Imran is doing more exercise and running around during break times since the playground has been refurbished, which is having a good impact on his self esteem, physical health and co-ordination. As parents, we are so grateful for the generosity of everyone who contributed to this project”.
Staff are also enjoying the chance to implement structured programs with pupils. Andy Bennett, a Sports Teacher said;
“The redevelopment of this area has had a positive impact on all elements of school life. Thank you to all those who helped with funding especially Wooden Spoon who provided the last donation which enabled us to create this fantastic pay area for all our children”.
Imran and his friends look forward to break times now with great excitement, and activities are no longer limited.