Weatherford Independent School District (ISD)’s mission is to teach, challenge, and inspire each student in a safe, nurturing environment to succeed in the global community. They live up to their mission with their latest initiative that brought inclusive playgrounds to every elementary school in the district. This was inspired by 8-year-old Mayli Gibson from Raymond E. Curtis Elementary School. Sami Gibson, Mayli’s mother and driving force for the inclusive playground, asked Weatherford ISD to help make her daughter’s school playground a more inclusive place where every child could play together without barriers.
The school district saw that inclusive play is a vital component in community development, and after much discussion the board voted with a unanimous “Yes!” They carefully researched and chose inclusive products to celebrate the voice of the community and decided to build inclusive playgrounds at not only Mayli’s school, but all of the schools in the district.
Weatherford ISD is the first school district to be awarded National Demonstration Site status. They hosted an “Inclusive Play Day”, on September 20,2018 at Raymond E. Curtis Elementary, featuring a ribbon cutting and dedication event for the seven new inclusive playgrounds that are now being enjoyed by all students this school year.
Schools in Weatherford that received inclusive playgrounds include:
- Stephen F. Austin Elementary
- David Crockett Elementary
- Raymond E. Curtis Elementary
- Bose Ikard Elementary
- Mary Martin Elementary
- Juan N. Seguin Elementary
- Bill W. Wright Elementary
Each playground’s design is focused around the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®, as outlined in Me2®, a program developed in partnership with PlayCore and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. The program provides an overview of why inclusion is so important, helpful research to help stakeholders understand diversity, inclusion, and social equity, and tips for designing inclusive play environments that benefit the whole child, whole environment, and whole community.®
Congratulations to the children of Weatherford ISD, and to the district for helping to remove barriers on playgrounds so everyone can play!