Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said students at schools in Slocan and New Denver are getting new playgrounds, thanks to $180,000 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 Conroy, who is also the Minister of Children and Family Development. “The previous government forced parents to come up with matching dollars for new playgrounds, but our funding program means they’ll be able to focus on their kids’ education rather than becoming full-time fundraisers.”
WE Graham Community School in Slocan and Lucerne Elementary Secondary School in New Denver will each get $90,000 to build their playgrounds.
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.