New playground teaches special needs students as they play

EAST MOLINE, Illinois  --  After two years, students at Black Hawk Area Education Center got to play on a new handicap accessible playground for the first time today, September 12th. The school raised $250,000 for this new play area.

"This is just another component to that outdoor learning environment," BHAEC teacher Allison Dounoulis said. "They can have fun, they can socialize, and just gain a lot of good skills for life."

The playground has a cushioned ground to prevent injuries if students fall. It also has handicap accessible ramps, shaded areas, and educational elements.

"The fact that he can go up on his wheelchair and maneuver through everything is going to be great," BHAEC parent Sonia Herrera said.

There are 160 special needs students at the school. Teachers say outdoor activities are crucial to their learning.

Organizers are still trying to raise money for fencing and a track to go around the playground. They need an extra $20,000 to finish the project.

They say they aren't done with the school and plan to build a basketball court next.