The Council of Intellectual Aliens (CIA), the fifth grade robotics team on the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus, is working on a playground redesign for local nonprofit Hope Haven, an organization serving children with special needs.
The project is part of the FIRST Lego League robotics team’s innovation project and complements the league’s 2021 theme “Replay,” or, getting everyone to play and be more active. This year’s project focuses on inclusion but in a broader spectrum, with the team focusing on “play for all” and ways they can make more playgrounds and parks accessible for all children to play.
“Our team has partnered with Hope Haven, a center whose mission it is to ensure that children and families realize their full potential by providing specialized services and individualized educational opportunities,” said team coach and Bolles Instructional Technology Specialist Andrew Nation.
The team met Hope Haven Director of Development Nancy Weaver in mid-February for a tour of the existing playground space and her vision of the new playground.
“Through this partnership, our team has the opportunity to help redesign the playground at Hope Haven to create a universally inclusive play space,” Nation said. “Our team wants to create a space that is accessible by kids of all abilities.”
Students also met with Bolles Assistant Middle School Head Jackie Willingham to get her feedback on their designs. As the parent of a special needs child, Willingham shared her concerns about certain types of playground equipment and worked with the team to identify inclusive playground equipment that is developmentally appropriate for kids of all kinds of abilities, Nation said.
“We are excited to see where this project leads and hope to continue the partnership with a program that promotes inclusion through the power of play.
The work is a continuation of the team’s prior competition season, which engaged students’ minds in redesigning beach wheelchairs to allow for more independent use.
For more photos of the CIA and the PVB Grade 4 team, the FBI, working on their projects, visit our online gallery.