How might we infuse joy in the lives of special needs elementary school students?
After extensive empathy work with special needs kids and their parents and teachers, we learned that positive mentorship and play are often difficult to access. Because of this, the kids and their parents can experience a sense of marginalization. To address this need, a crew of One Stone students, in partnership with Cynthia Mann Elementary, created an end-of-year celebration event that provided the opportunity for play, movement and creativity for kids with special needs. Each student was paired up with a One Stone buddy for a two-day event. On day one, the kids and their One Stone buddies spent a day devoted to FUN! Organized adaptive games and art projects served as a way to break down barriers and connect on a level where everyone is comfortable - PLAY! On day two, the One Stone students joined their buddies at the Cynthia Mann Elementary all school field day, empowering and inspiring the kids to get in and mix it up with the rowdy bunch in a series of games and shenanigans.
The learning went both ways with this interaction—One Stone students gained a better understanding of the challenges parents and teachers face in caring for special needs students, and the special needs students enjoyed two days of focused attention and encouragement from the cool big kids.
Additionally, many popsicles were consumed.