CCSD21: Riley celebrates new playground with ribbon-cutting ceremony
The playground outside Riley Elementary School in Arlington Heights was abuzz on Monday, Aug. 28, as the Rams community celebrated the new structure with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"Free play outside benefits students in a variety of ways," said Dr. Michael Connolly, superintendent of schools, during the ceremony. "Aside from an outlet for their energy, our students learn about leadership, independence, cooperation, responsibility, teamwork and creative problem-solving on the playground."
In an effort to meet the needs of the Riley community, Community Consolidated School District 21 enhanced the featured elements beyond accessible equipment and surfaces -- a goal as it looks to renovate all playgrounds across the district.
The space, one of the few totally accessible playgrounds in the area, includes a communication board that allows for nonvocal students to express their needs and wants; one board each for Braille and sign language; two adaptive swings; and a number of musical instruments around the perimeter to allow for alternative purposeful play.
"It's a wonderful commitment to our students and allows equity for all," said Riley Principal Nicole Bellini. "This special structure allows our entire student population at Riley to be included in activities."