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PLC Students Get the Water Park Experience


A girl with a shark hat waves a bubble wand

Students at the Premm Learning Center were treated to a water park, right on school grounds. The teachers at the Premm Learning Center brought in pools, toys, ice pops, and bubbles to simulate what it’s like to visit a water park during a hot summer day. Premm Learning Center is an Eastern Suffolk BOCES school for students with special needs.

Water parks can be overwhelming to some students with special needs. From hot concrete, cool water, shouting patrons and brightly colored water rides, a trip to a water park can easily overload the senses of those with disabilities that make them particularly sensitive to stimulation. The Premm Learning Center set up a small pool of water, water guns, and a bubble station to replicate the experiences of a water park. To stay cool, the students were given blue ice pops and blue sunglasses which were donated by GEICO Insurance.

 “Many of these kids can’t go to a water park because the environment can’t be predicted,” said PLC principal, Laura Schwartz-Papaleo. “Here, we can help them cool off and have some fun in the sun where they feel safe.”

A therapy dog, Olympia, was also in attendance to help calm students who might be overwhelmed. Many students found the yellow lab’s presence comforting, as she was able to accompany them to the different water stations. She even joined in the fun by stepping into the small pool. Being in a familiar environment empowered the students to try new things – such as reaching into a pool of water to retrieve a toy, or playing with a classmate with a water gun.


A child in a wheelchair smiles at a dog wearing a pair of sunglasses

a boy laughs next to a water gun