Outdoor Learning Lab

The black bears lost a family member this week. Michelle was such a bright light for us at school, to her family, and to all the lives she touched. In lieu of flowers, Michelle's family is asking for donations to the Outdoor Learning Lab. Michelle loved playing outside and especially loved being pushed on the swings by her friends. She would have absolutely loved to have a playground at school. We miss you Shelly girl. <3

In loving memory of Michelle Grady 
July 11, 2005 - April 10, 2019

I am a Special Education Teacher in Hillsborough, North Carolina for students with  rare, severe, profound and/or multiple disabilities.  I am asking for help building a playground for my kids.

As the lead teacher of the self contained classes, I am an advocate for people with disabilities and want to ensure my students get exposure to their typically developing peers within the school and the community.  We go on community outings regularly including trips to local grocery stores and libraries.  We go to a local park, but my students cannot interact with their same age peers since we are off campus.  

If we had a playground on the school campus, they could play, exercise, and socialize with their typically developing peers at the middle school.  My students have a wide range of physical and academic abilities.  My students are hard workers who are trying to improve their social skills, communication skills, life skills and academics all at once.  Just like younger children, my students continue to learn through play and a playground would help them work on many of their targeted skills, especially in physical education, social skills, and communication.  

My students require several movement breaks per day to get out energy and be able to focus on their academics.  A playground would help ensure variety in their movement breaks and offer something different for them to work on.  Many of my students work with an Adapted Physical Education teacher, a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and a Speech Language Pathologist.  This playground would provide other unique opportunities for service delivery and therapy.    

It is so important for my students to have a safe play space on the school campus to learn, explore, and grow.  Thank you so much for considering us.
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Nicole Notowitz Lester 
Hillsborough, NC
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