Third Grade: Disabilities

The cooperating non-profit educating partner for this project is the Community Center for Independence. Unless we have personal experience with disability through a family member or friend, we may not know that such an organization is at work in our communities.

One wheelchair for the project spreads awareness in the school community over a significant period of time, as all third graders experience the solo journey, one by one, day after day.

Third grader in a wheel chair reaching to take a book from a library shelf.

Disabilities Awareness

This innovative disability awareness program has students spend one day in a wheelchair and participate in an interdisciplinary learning experience designed to promote understanding of accommodation, accessibility, and independence.

Reflection is one of the four components of service learning. More typically, reflection happens after engagement, however in this model it happens prior to a day spent in a wheelchair.

Third graders will have seen this project occurring in the school hallways and cafeteria in previous years. The beginning excitement for their turn to engage becomes part of their reflection which later contrasts with feelings of limiting access and freedom – exclusion – and the importance of community.

A journal of service learning reflections will begin in kindergarten and progress each year to include new service work each year. Students will include project outcomes – their real world contributions during these early years of their lives. When they are too young to write for themselves, older students can join them to write for them, which strengthens relationships and school community.

More Project Possibilities

Disability Topic Areas: