Students at Savory Elementary on the West Shore are joining kids in 101 schools around B.C. who are benefiting from new accessible playgrounds that encourage active learning and healthy lifestyles.
The $105,000 investment, made possible through the Playground Equipment Program (PEP), is part of the Province’s commitment to update aging infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, fun and accessible learning environments that set children up for success.
“Kids deserve every opportunity to succeed, and that’s why our government is investing in their education to give them the best chance at a bright future,” said Premier John Horgan. “In less than two years, we’ve announced 101 new playgrounds opening in schools across the province, impacting 25,000 students and taking the pressure off parents who work so hard to fundraise. We’re going to keep working to open doors to opportunity through education to make life better for everyone in B.C.”
Playing outdoors is proven to reduce anxiety in children, improve focus and enhance students’ attention spans. Playgrounds promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles. They encourage children to share, develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges, and help them learn more effectively in the classroom.
“All kids should have the opportunity to enjoy modern, safe and accessible playgrounds at their schools,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “By investing in new playgrounds at schools throughout British Columbia, we are relieving fundraising pressures on parents and improving the learning environment for young students.”
PEP was launched in 2018. Since then, government has invested $10 million to provide 101 new playgrounds to schools throughout the province. Every school district has now received at least one new playground. 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 in B.C. have the opportunity to apply for the funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June of each year. Playgrounds are funded based on greatest need. Priority is given to schools where there is no playground, then to schools where the existing playground is aging. School districts that did not receive funding this year may receive funding next year, if they apply for it.
Ravi Parmar, board chair and school trustee, Sooke School District Board of Education —
“The board of education is pleased with the Province’s commitment to improving school playgrounds. This beautiful outdoor space provides fun and peace to hundreds of children, and the investment by the government helped ease the fundraising pressure on parents and the community. That funding, in collaboration with the hard work our district project team put in, has resulted in a play space that will serve students here at Savory Elementary for years to come.”
Robyn Little, president, Savory Elementary Parent Advisory Council —
“The council is thrilled with the results of the new playground. Working together with the district and Province has provided us with this beautiful structure that has enhanced the natural surroundings for outdoor play and learning here at Savory, and we give many thanks to all involved in making this possible.”
Hannah Little, student, Savory Elementary —
“I love the new playground. My friends and I like playing grounders on it and the toadstools are really great. There’s so much more to do now. Thank you all.”
Playground Equipment Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/programs