Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons has indicated that students at Henderson Elementary School will soon be playing on a new accessible playground, through $165,000 in provincial funding. Additionally, there will be $1,325,000 in upgrades at School District 47 schools.
"Our government believes that play is so important to children's healthy development and these new playgrounds will mean that kids can get outdoors to exercise and socialize with their peers," stated Simons in a media release. "We're making record investments in education infrastructure, providing playgrounds, upgrading school buildings, and creating new classrooms so BC kids can get the best possible start in life."
The release stated that this year, the government is doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. The money that School District 47 received for the new accessible playground is up $40,000 from previous years, the release stated. This increase will allow the playgrounds to be designed with accessible features such as ground cover, ramps and/or transfer platforms that connect to the play structure, to ensure there’s a place for all students to play. The playgrounds will be built over the next year and are expected to be ready for kids to play on by early 2022, according to the release.
Playgrounds help kids stay active outdoors while learning to share, build conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges, plus playing outside reduces anxiety and improves focus, helping kids to learn in the classroom, the release stated.
This funding comes from the playground equipment program, created in 2018 to reduce the burden of fundraising on parents, and help communities buy the playground equipment students need. Since 2018, the government has invested $25 million to fund 201 new playgrounds at schools throughout the province, benefiting more than 49,000 students, the release stated.
Students will also benefit from upgraded and more energy-efficient learning environments, with $240.5 million in school maintenance grants distributed across the province this year. School District 47 received $1,325,000 this year for projects including: electrical and LED lighting upgrades at Brooks Secondary School; roofing upgrades at Edgehill Elementary School and James Thomson Elementary School; and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) upgrades at Westview Elementary and Kelly Creek Community Schools.