Richmond Friday, September 10, 2021 11:00 AM

More than 14,000 B.C. students will soon have access to new, safe and accessible playgrounds as the Province doubles its annual investment in the Playground Equipment Program (PEP).

This increase will help schools design playgrounds that better support accessibility for all students.

“We cannot underestimate the vital link between play and learning. Students are more focused in class when outdoor play is part of their school routine, and they learn important life skills like co-operation and patience while improving their major motor skills,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “Doubling our playground fund investment helps support students, staff, families and communities, and takes the fundraising burden off parents so they can spend more time playing with their children.”

This year, the PEP will invest $10 million in 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts throughout the province. The funding for 2021-22 received a one-time $5-million boost compared to previous years. The funding for each project has also been increased by $40,000 to a total of $165,000 to better support accessible components – like ground cover, ramps and/or transfer platforms that connect to the play structure – to ensure a place for all students to play. Playgrounds will be built over the next year.

Since 2018, government has invested $25 million in the PEP to fund 201 new playgrounds, benefiting more than 49,000 students. This new funding builds on government’s commitment to provide safe learning environments for all students during the pandemic and in years to come, which has included the creation of outdoor classrooms in some districts.

Playgrounds encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles while also encouraging children to share. They are a key factor in children’s development and learning as they help them develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside is also known to help reduce anxiety, improve focus and enhance student attention spans.

Every B.C. school district has now received at least one new playground through the PEP. The program relieves parents of some of the responsibility for fundraising for playground equipment and provides access to communities that do not have the fundraising capacity to buy the playground equipment students need.

School districts have the opportunity to apply for PEP funding from the ministry each year. Playgrounds are funded based on greatest need.

Priority is given to schools where there is no playground at all, then to schools where the existing playground is aging. School districts that did not receive funding this year may reapply next year.

Quotes:

Henry Yao, Richmond South Centre MLA –

“Playing is essential to everyone’s mental and physical health. Children need accessible, safe and fun places to play on their school grounds and within their communities. We all need unstructured play to sharpen our social skills and to thrive. Our government’s $10-million investment in playgrounds this year will provide more opportunities for kids to go outside and be active, all within steps of their classrooms and close to their home.”

Kelly Greene, Richmond-Steveston MLA –

“We know that outdoor physical activity for children is an important part of their development. It’s exciting that more than 14,000 young students in B.C. will soon have better access to new playgrounds where they can play, build friendships and create more adventures. For our Grauer community, this means a place where children and families can play and grow together.”

Andrea Sinclair, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils –

“Parents are truly appreciative of the Playground Equipment Program, which relieves some of the burden placed upon parent advisory council parents who would have had little choice but to spend copious hours fundraising. All playgrounds must have accessible and inclusive equipment for children to enjoy. For many schools in our province, this means having to upgrade or even replace aging playground structures. Parents strongly believe that accessible programs or structures should never be dependent on the individual school’s ability to fundraise.”

Sandra Nixon, board chair, Richmond School District (SD 38) –

“We are extremely pleased that the ministry has been providing the Richmond school district with the funds to deliver accessible playgrounds to our students and families. Playgrounds are wonderful learning environments where students can be free to use their imagination, share experiences and build lifelong friendships. These inclusive spaces are important to our district and provide our students with the opportunity to learn, grow and play.”

Sidney Chan, parent, Grauer Elementary –

“I was very happy when I found out that Grauer Elementary was receiving funding from the Ministry of Education for a new playground. I was happy because it meant that my son and his friends would have wonderful new equipment to play with. Little did I know how immensely transformative the new playground would be for the Grauer community. During this process, I have realized that we have something special, something that brings joy to the Grauer community, and something that we can be proud of.”

Quick Facts:

  • This playground investment is a part of government’s school capital plan to ensure students have safe, positive learning and play spaces, no matter where they live.
  • Budget 2021 includes a record $3.5 billion for new and improved schools for B.C. students.
  • Since September 2017, the Province has announced more than $2 billion for school capital projects. This includes $749 million to add more than 13,000 new student seats in B.C. schools, eliminating the equivalent of about 520 portables.

Learn More:

The Playground Equipment Program:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/programs

The BC Centre for Disease Control has information for schools and families on COVID-19 safety at playgrounds:
http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/community-settings/playgrounds

A backgrounder follows.

Contract Story

Backgrounders

Accessible school playgrounds

School districts in B.C. are receiving funding, for the fourth year in a row, from a program first introduced in May 2018 to support building new and replacement playgrounds.

The following districts have been approved for $165,000 in funding for an accessible playground:

Southeast Kootenay School District (SD 5)

  • Amy Woodland Elementary

Kootenay Lake School District (SD 8)

  • Adam Robertson Elementary

Arrow Lakes School District (SD 10)

  • Burton Elementary

Kootenay-Columbia School District (SD 20)

  • Kinnaird Elementary

Vernon School District (SD 22)

  • Ellison Elementary

Central Okanagan School District (SD 23)

  • South Kelowna Elementary
  • Watson Road Elementary

Cariboo-Chilcotin School District (SD 27)

  • Dog Creek Elementary-Jr. Secondary

Quesnel School District (SD 28)

  • Dragon Lake Elementary

Chilliwack School District (SD 33)

  • East Chilliwack Elementary

Abbotsford School District (SD34)

  • Centennial Park Elementary

Langley School District (SD 35)

  • West Langley Elementary
  • Parkside Centennial Elementary

Surrey School District (SD 36)

  • T.E. Scott Elementary
  • Senator Reid Elementary

Delta School District (SD 37)

  • Jarvis Traditional Elementary

Richmond School District (SD 38)

  • Mitchell Elementary

Vancouver School District (SD 39)

  • Sir Richard McBride Elementary
  • Lord Tennyson Elementary

New Westminster School District (SD 40)

  • Herbert Spencer Elementary

Burnaby School District (SD 41)

  • Lyndhurst Elementary
  • Confederation Park Elementary

Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District (SD 42)

  • Davie Jones Elementary
  • Webster’s Corners Elementary

Coquitlam School District (SD 43)

  • R.C. Macdonald Elementary
  • Minnekhada Middle

North Vancouver School District (SD 44)

  • Lynnmour Elementary
  • Queen Mary Community Elementary

West Vancouver School District (SD 45)

  • Bowen Island Community

Sunshine Coast School District (SD 46)

  • Halfmoon Bay Elementary

Powell River School District (SD 47)

  • Henderson Elementary

Sea to Sky School District (SD 48)

  • Mamquam Elementary

Central Coast School District (SD 49)

  • Nusatsum Elementary

Boundary School District (SD 51)

  • John A. Hutton Elementary

Prince Rupert School District (SD 52)

  • Ecole Roosevelt Park Elementary

Bulkley Valley School District (SD 54)

  • Silverthorne Elementary

Prince George School District (SD 57)

  • McBride Centennial Elementary

Peace River South School District (SD 59)

  • Devereaux Elementary

Peace River North School District (SD 60)

  • Upper Halfway Elementary

Greater Victoria School District (SD 61)

  • Northridge Elementary
  • Lake Hill Elementary

Sooke School District (SD 62)

  • Colwood Elementary

Saanich School District (SD 63)

  • Children’s Development Center

Okanagan Skaha School District (SD 67)

  • Queens Park Elementary

Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District (SD 68)

  • Quarterway Elementary

Qualicum School District (SD 69)

  • Nanoose Bay Elementary

Pacific Rim School District (SD 70)

  • John Howitt Elementary
  • Ucluelet Elementary

Comox Valley School District (SD 71)

  • Huband Park Elementary

Campbell River School District (SD 72)

  • Georgia Park Elementary

Kamloops/Thompson School District (SD 73)

  • Vavenby Elementary

Gold Trail School District (SD 74)

  • George Murray Elementary

Mission School District (SD 75)

  • Edwin S. Richards Elementary

Fraser-Cascade School District (SD 78)

  • Coquihalla Elementary

Cowichan Valley School District (SD 79)

  • Alex Aitken Elementary

Fort Nelson School District (SD 81)

  • Toad River Elementary-Secondary

North Okanagan-Shuswap School District (SD 83)

  • South Canoe Elementary

Vancouver Island West School District (SD 84)

  • Ray Watkins Elementary

Nisga’a School District (SD 92)

  • Git’wink’sihlkw Elementary

Conseil Scolaire Francophone School District (SD 93)

  • École des Deux Rives

This on BC Govt Website go to the link here

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