Sunday May 1, 2022 | ESQUIMALT, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Students at École Macaulay Elementary will soon be playing on a new accessible playground, thanks to $165,000 in provincial funding, says Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin).
“Playgrounds play a big part in childrens’ social lives and physical health when they are at school and for many children, it’s where they learn how to make and keep friends,” said Dean in a news release on April 29.
An inclusive playground takes away both the physical and social barriers to exclusion.
“With this funding for a new accessible playground, more children in Esquimalt will be able to play and grow safely.”
Three south Island schools:
- École Macaulay Elementary at 1010 Wychbury Ave in Esquimalt, within the Greater Victoria School District (SD61), is getting a new playground.
- In the Saanich School District (SD63) there will also be a new accessible playground at Brentwood Elementary.
- In Nanaimo Ladysmith School Distrit (SD68) there will be a new playground at Cilaire Elementary.
Thirty new accessible playgrounds this year:
This year, New Democrats are investing $5 million in 30 new accessible playgrounds for 24 school districts across the province (see list below this article). The structures will include features like ground cover and ramps to ensure there’s a place for students of all abilities to play. The playgrounds will be designed and built over the next year.
More than 7,000 B.C students will have access to new, safe and accessible playgrounds as the Province invests in the Playground Equipment Program (PEP) for the fifth year in a row to support healthy and active lifestyles.
“Taking a break from the classroom and getting time outside to play gives children the opportunity to explore through play-based learning,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care. “We know having space for kids to play safely is important for families and that’s why our government is committed to supporting students with accessible new playgrounds for many years to come.”
Playgrounds help kids stay active outdoors while learning to cooperate, build conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside reduces anxiety and improve focus, helping kids to learn in the classroom.
New playground equipment program:
The provincial government says this funding comes from the Playground Equipment Program, which New Democrats created in 2018 to reduce the burden of fundraising on parents and help communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the playground equipment students need.
Since 2018, the New Democrat government has invested $30 million to fund 231 new playgrounds at schools throughout the province, benefiting more than 57,000 students.
This relieves parents of the pressure to fundraise for new playground equipment. This funding builds on government’s commitment to provide safe learning environments for all students in years to come, which has included the creation of outdoor classrooms in some districts.
List of new accessible playground locations in 2022:
Kootenay-Columbia School District (SD20) – Fruitvale Elementary
Vernon School District (SD22) – Okanagan Landing Elementary
Central Okanagan School District (SD23) – Bellevue Creek Elementary
Cariboo-Chilcotin School District (SD27) – Cataline Elementary
Chilliwack School District (SD33) – Promontory Heights Community Elementary
Abbotsford School District (SD34) – Mountain Elementary
Langley School District (SD35) – Coghlan Fundamental Elementary
Surrey School District (SD36) – Kirkbride Elementary, Sullivan Elementary, École Riverdale Elementary
Delta School District (SD37) – Richardson Elementary
Richmond School District (SD38) – Maple Lane Elementary
Vancouver School District (SD39) -Champlain Heights Community Elementary, Dr H N Maccorkindale Elementary
New Westminster School District (SD40) – Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary
Burnaby School District (SD41) – École Seaforth Elementary
Coquitlam School District (SD43) – Roy Stibbs Elementary, Meadowbrook Elementary
North Vancouver School District (SD44) – Brooksbank Elementary
Central Coast School District (SD49) – Oweekeno Elementary
Haida Gwaii School District (SD50) – Port Clements Elementary
Prince George School District (SD57) – Hart Highlands Elementary, College Heights Elementary
Greater Victoria School District (SD61) – École Macaulay Elementary
Saanich School District (SD63) – Brentwood Elementary
Nanaimo Ladysmith School District (SD68) – Cilaire Elementary
Kamloops/Thompson School District (SD73) – Heffley Creek Elementary, Ralph Bell Elementary School
Coast Mountains School District (SD82) – Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary
Conseil Scolare Francophone School District (SD93) – Anne-Hebert Elementary (Vancouver)