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Maple Lane elementary will get new accessible playground

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:15 PDT, Mon May 2, 2022

Students at Maple Lane Elementary School are among some 7,000 across B.C. who will have access to new, safe, and accessible playgrounds through investments in the province’s Playground Equipment Program (PEP).

This is the fifth year the program will run, aiming to support healthy and active lifestyles. Thirty B.C. schools will each receive $165,000 towards building a new accessible playground in the next year. The total investment is $5 million.

"Taking a break from the classroom and getting time outside to play gives children the opportunity to explore through play-based learning," said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care. "We know having space for kids to play safely is important for families and that's why our government is committed to supporting students with accessible new playgrounds for many years to come."

Since 2018, government has invested $30 million in the PEP to fund new playgrounds at 231 schools, benefiting more than 57,000 students and relieving parents of the pressure to fundraise for new playground equipment. This funding builds on government's commitment to provide safe learning environments for all students in years to come, which has included the creation of outdoor classrooms in some districts.

Daily exercise and playing outside is important for growing young bodies and minds. Playgrounds encourage physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles while also encouraging children to share and develop conflict resolution skills. They provide children with the opportunity to move around, learn new things, reduce anxiety, improve focus, enhance attention spans, and work on physical, social, emotional, and sensory development.

"Access to playgrounds tremendously benefits families, children with diverse abilities and disabilities, and is a perfect example of how we can create more inclusive communities,” said Andrea Sinclair, president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “Parents appreciate the Playground Equipment Program as it eases pressure to fundraise and ensures accessible playgrounds are part of the school community."

For more information on the Playground Equipment Program, go to https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/programs.

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