Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says students at Airport Elementary School are getting a new accessible playground, thanks to $105,000 in provincial funding.
“Playgrounds are as essential to students in school as textbooks and school supplies are,” said MLA Leonard. “Our government is committed to ensuring that all children have the chance to participate in active and healthy play, and with this funding we’re putting our money where our mouth is.”
Funding for the new playground comes from the new Playground Equipment Program, now in its second year. The program provides up to $5 million each year to school districts to purchase new or replacement playgrounds. This year, 20 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 30 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally-accessible playground.
In the past, schools’ Parent Advisory Councils would have to fundraise large sums of money for new and replacement playground equipment, and schools without that capability were left without playgrounds. The fund ensures that kids don’t have to suffer for years with inadequate or unsafe playground equipment and that parents can focus their limited time and energy on their children.
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.
The New Democrat government has delivered historic levels of funding to B.C. schools, including the biggest operating and capital budgets in B.C. history, an extra $1-billion in classroom funding over 2016/17, and $2.7-billion over three years to build, expand, and seismically upgrade K-12 schools.