Shane’s Inspiration Introduces Online Social Inclusion Program for Schools

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Inclusion Lunch Box® aims to connect children of all abilities through play.

It is programs like Shane’s Inspiration’s Inclusion Lunch Box that teach kids how to play together and accept everyone in spite of their differences.

Shane’s Inspiration, the international nonprofit specializing in the design and educational programming of inclusive playgrounds, launched the online Inclusion Lunch Box program, an interactive and highly engaging elementary school program that promotes social inclusion and reduces bullying towards children with disabilities. Through support from Landscape Structures Inc., a Delano, Minn.-based commercial playground equipment manufacturer, Shane’s Inspiration is able to offer this programming initiative to elementary school campuses throughout North America.

Socialization at school can be a tremendous struggle for children with disabilities, and the impact of isolation from play has a damaging effect. To combat this, Shane’s Inspiration created the Inclusion Lunch Box program, and has been delivering it to schools throughout Los Angeles since 2004. The program works in a simple, three step process:

1. Students between grades 3 and 6 participate in a 60-minute ability awareness workshop, during which time they utilize written and hands-on exercises, a DVD, and group discussion to explore common misconceptions and perceptions about disabilities. They learn to distinguish between fact and fiction.
2. Students with and without disabilities are then paired at an inclusive playground to spend the day playing with and learning about each other. Using a variety of toys/games, children of all abilities are supported as they connect.
3. A post play date workshop in the classroom allows students to synthesize how their perceptions shifted about themselves and people with disabilities. An academic curriculum allows teachers to continue the ability awareness throughout the year via humanities-based activities that meet Common Core Standards.

Because of the collaboration between Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures, the Inclusion Lunch Box program is now available to teachers throughout North America. Teachers can download the inclusion program at shanesinspiration.org/education. The online program includes a step-by-step guide and materials to facilitate classroom workshops, inclusive play guide to help integrate students on school campuses or at inclusive community playgrounds, follow-up workshop guide and materials so students can implement their newly gained awareness and common core standards-based curriculum and resource list. Additionally, Shane’s Inspiration staff is available for ongoing support to teachers/administrators.

“After working with Shane’s Inspiration for more than 10 years, we’re pleased to support them in their inclusive play programming initiatives,” said Pat Faust, president of Landscape Structures. “We design and manufacture inclusive playgrounds so that children of all abilities can come together and play, but it is programs like Shane’s Inspiration’s Inclusion Lunch Box that teach kids how to play together and accept everyone in spite of their differences.”

Since 1971, Landscape Structures Inc. has been the leading commercial play equipment manufacturer in the world. The employee-owned company is committed to making the world a better place with active children thriving in leading communities year after year, generation after generation. Landscape Structures encourages outdoor play that develops healthy kids and a sustainable world by creating innovative products that are environmentally responsible. As a leader in inclusive play, Landscape Structures is committed to designing truly inclusive playgrounds that provide places where children of all abilities can play, learn and grow together. The company’s mission from day one has been to enhance children’s lives by fostering and creating inspiring play experiences while honoring the environment.

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Katie Kava
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