Students at Glenwood elementary school in Maple Ridge will be getting new playground equipment, as one of 51 schools around the province receiving part of $5 million per year in funding from Victoria.
Pitt-Meadows-Maple Ridge MLA Lisa Beare announced $105,000 in provincial funding for Glenwood.
“Glenwood elementary is receiving this money to build a new and accessible playground,” Beare announced. “I am so proud that our government is committed to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to participate in active and healthy play.
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.
This year 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 25 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally-accessible playground. They will be built in time for September’s return from summer break.
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.
“This new program will alleviate some of the inequities in parent fundraising, and enable PACs to strengthen their advisory and advocacy roles,” said Jen Mezei, president, B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “Parents have advocated for this for over a decade, and we thank the government for the ongoing commitment. We believe that safe and accessible playgrounds should not be dependent on a school community’s ability to raise funds, and for too long have felt the burden to ensure schools and school communities have safe and engaging play spaces.”
According to a government release, districts applied for the funding in April 2018, and playgrounds are being funded based on greatest need. Priority is given to schools where there is currently no playground, and then to schools where the existing playground is aging. Districts that did not receive funding this year will receive funding next year, if they apply for it.
Playgrounds are important for children’s development and learning, said the release.
“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.”