About Scottie Yard
"We are a family at Oakdale Elementary. All of our students have individual needs and unique talents. The completion of the Scottie Yard playground will not only make the facility accessible for all students, it will provide additional opportunities for our children to share their unique gifts with each other." ~ Geoff Harold, Oakdale principal
(visit the Scottie Scoop tab for project progress and updates)
A group of dedicated Oakdale Elementary teachers and community volunteers have partnered with the Oak Hills Alumni & Educational Foundation to privately raise $180,000 for a new accessible and inclusive playground at the Oak Hills school. [Update: as of April 8, 2015 the project cost has been reduced to $165,000! Visit the Scottie Scoop tab for the full release.]
At Oakdale, students with a variety of physical, social and academic needs successfully learn and work together but are unable to play together because the current playground does not facilitate inclusive play. Some students are able to access the playground while others have to sit and watch, unable to join their friends.
Located on the Westside of Cincinnati, Oakdale boasts an accepting, inclusive community where students view each other as peers, equals and friends no matter their background, needs or disability. As the only completely accessible elementary school in the district, Oakdale students have a variety of physical, social and academic needs. Students look at their fellow classmates and do not see a child with a wheelchair, a pupil wearing braces, an individual who uses a walker or a student with differences. They simply see their friend and classmate.
With mulch and grass for flooring instead of flat surfaces to roll wheelchairs, as well as play structures which are not accessible, students who typically are welcomed and included are unable join their peers at recess. As it stands, the structures are not accessible for students with a variety of disabilities including those who use braces, walkers or wheelchairs. In fact, only one swing compatible for a wheelchair exists; that’s one item for six students to share during a 30-minute recess.
Ten years ago a few freestanding structures were added to the playground. The main climbing structure and slides are 20 years old. “It’s time to change that, so that all of our students can enjoy time together at recess,” Michelle Boeshart, Oakdale teacher, commented.
“Outdoor play is so important to all children, and an accessible playground would offer that opportunity to children like my daughter,” Catie Singer, Oakdale parent, shared about the thought of a new playground.
The 2014 Center for Disease Control (CDC) Health and Academic Achievement Report details the benefits of physical activity for students. The report states that “students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g. memory) and classroom behaviors (e.g. on-task behavior)” and “time spent in recess has been shown to positively affect students’ cognitive performance (e.g. attention, concentration) and classroom behaviors (e.g. not misbehaving).”
The inclusive and accessible Scottie Yard Playground will create an environment for children to develop gross motor skills such as muscle strength and balance. It will also allow children to develop mobility skills such as walking, using a wheelchair, walker, braces or standers to maneuver and interact with the environment. Children will develop stronger communication and social skills by interacting with peers in a safe, non-academic setting.
“Through the experience of inclusive play children feel included and supported. Children may also gain the following benefits: a truer understanding of the world; the development of attitudes such as tolerance, appreciation of difference, acceptance of perspectives other than their own; a richer play environment; a positive sense of self, self-esteem and positive reinforcement of their sense of identity; experiences linked to curricular goals; the ability to exercise their rights.” (Lancaster, Y.P (2003), Promoting Listening to Children).
“I am privileged to work at Oakdale Elementary. We have wonderful students and a great school community” Boeshart added. “Our goal with the Scottie Yard playground is to create a truly accessible environment so that all students can play together in a safe and inclusive environment.”
The plans for the new structure include GT Impax poured-in-place rubber flooring, an inclusive play structure with ramp entrance, a variety of slides, climbing structures, interactive equipment including a freestanding musical structure, as well as inclusive swings.
The fundraising team formed in September of 2014 to begin planning for the task of raising $180,000 for the new structure. Four thousand dollars have already been raised through the Oak Hills Alumni & Educational Foundation. One hundred percent of the Oakdale teachers are supporting the project and have already contributed to the cause. The group has also applied for $229,000 in grant funding, with more opportunities on the list.
“The Scottie Yard Playground project is a wonderful example of our community working together to ensure a positive educational experience for all students in the Oak Hills Local School District,” Oak Hills School Board president Julie Murphy said. “Using grant funds and donations from parents and community partners, the committed Oakdale project leadership team will make recess accessible for all our elementary students.”
Want to help?
About Oakdale Elementary School
Oakdale Elementary is one of the five elementary schools in the Oak Hills Local School District. Built in 1969 it is the only school in the district that is on one level. 705 students currently attend Oakdale Elementary.
About The Oak Hills Alumni & Educational Foundation
Formed in 1996, the Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the achievement, heritage and educational opportunities for the Oak Hill’s students and staff by providing alumni and community resources to promote unity, pride and build a legacy for a stronger community.
In the News:
Out in the yard at Oakdale
More than 55 volunteers worked together on August 1 to install the Scottie Yard at Oakdale, photo.
Delhi Press: August 19, 2015
Perry Schaible from Local 12 visited the current Oakdale playground to talk with parents, students and teachers about the Scottie Yard. Watch the story here.
May 4, 2015
Supt.'s On Radio Show
Superintendent Yohey interviews Emily C. Buckley about the Scottie Yard Playground
Supt..'s On: Click here to listen to the broadcast
March 26, 2015
Green Twp. giving $100K to inclusive playground project
Western Hills Press: Click here to read the story
March 25, 2015
Community raising money for inclusive playground at Oakdale Elementary
Delhi Press: Click here to read the story
Feburary 18, 2015
Scottie can play on this structure, but his friends can't.