Students at three Richmond elementary schools are benefiting from new playgrounds that encourage active learning and healthy lifestyles.
Made possible through the Playground Equipment Program (PEP), Blundell, Grauer and Kidd elementary schools received $90,000 investments as part of the Province’s commitment to update aging infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe learning environments that set children up for success.
“I’m proud that we invested in playgrounds so children in Richmond, and every corner of the province, can have access to the outdoors on safe and modern playground equipment,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “By investing in new playgrounds, we are relieving fundraising pressures on parents and also improving the learning environment for young students because physical activity is proven to help students stay mentally alert.”
Playgrounds promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles, encourage children to share, develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges, and help students learn more effectively in the classroom. Playing outdoors is proven to reduce anxiety in children, improve focus and enhance students’ attention spans.
“The board of education is pleased with the Province’s commitment to improving school playgrounds in the Richmond School District,” said Ken Hamaguchi, board chair, Richmond School District. “Playgrounds bring communities together and provide opportunities for outdoor play and learning. These beautiful play spaces will undoubtedly serve the Grauer, Kidd and Blundell communities for years to come. We would like to thank and commend everyone who played a role in making these playgrounds possible.”
The Playground Equipment Program was launched in 2018. Since then, government has invested $10 million to provide 101 new playgrounds to schools throughout the province for more than 25,000 children to enjoy. Every school district has now received at least one new playground. The program provides access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the playground equipment students need.
“We are extremely pleased to have a brand new accessible playground at Grauer Elementary,” said Dionne McFie, president, Richmond District Parent Advisory Council. “The playground is a magnificent learning environment where students use their imaginations to create experiences that build lifelong friendships. I applaud the Grauer Elementary School community, the Richmond School District, and the Province of British Columbia for their commitment to creating an inclusive space where each student has the opportunity to learn, grow and play.”
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 re-apply.