North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice aid students at three schools are getting new accessible playgrounds, thanks to $315,000 in provincial funding announced by the Premier and Minister of Education last week.
“Playgrounds should be part of a healthy childhood no matter where you live,” said Rice. “In the past, parent groups had to raise matching dollars to get a new playground, but our new program means parents don’t have to become full-time fundraisers for their kids to be able to play.”
Bella Coola Elementary in Bella Coola and Conrad Elementary in Prince Rupert are each getting $105,000 to build new accessible playgrounds. The Haida Gwaii School District will also receive $105,000 to build an accessible playground at Gudgangaay Tlats’gaa Naay Secondary in Masset, to accommodate the elementary students who are moving there from Tahaygen Elementary next school year.
This funding is part of a new, ongoing Playground Equipment Program that will provide up to $5 million each year to school districts to purchase new or replacement playgrounds, and fulfills a central NDP campaign promise. This year, 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 25 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally-accessible playground.
Generally, schools’ Parent Advisory Councils have to fundraise large sums of money for new and replacement playground equipment, and schools without that capability are left without playgrounds. The new fund will ensure that kids don’t have to suffer for years with inadequate or unsafe playground equipment, and that parents can focus their energy on their children’s success.
Playgrounds are important for children’s development and learning. They encourage outdoor physical activity and help students learn how to share, work together, overcome challenges and be creative. Outdoor play can help students focus and learn more effectively in the classroom.