Port Clements Elementary gets $165,000 to build accessible playground – Prince Rupert Northern View

A new accessible playground allowing students to play to their level of physical ability will be built at Port Clements Elementary School after receiving $165,000, the Department of Education and Child Care announced on Tuesday. April 29.

Through the provincial government’s Playground Equipment Program, the school is one of 30 schools across 24 districts to receive its share of $5 million in funding in 2022. The playground investment will benefit more than 7,000 students across the province.

“Students should have safe and accessible playgrounds no matter where they live. I am thrilled to see these investments on the North Shore and look forward to seeing these playgrounds when they are complete,” said Jennifer Rice, MP for the North Shore.

Each school district will receive $165,000 for accessible schoolyard equipment. Since the program launched in 2018, 231 schools have been funded, including Lax Kxeen Elementary in Prince Rupert, which officially opens May 19.

“Playing outside has always been important to our children,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “By financing these playgrounds, we are investing in the education and well-being of children…”

The PEP has benefited more than 57,000 students and relieved parents of the pressure to raise money for new playground equipment, a press release said. “This funding builds on the government’s commitment to provide safe learning environments for all students in the years to come, which has included the creation of outdoor classrooms in some districts.

“Taking a break from the classroom and spending time outside to play gives children the opportunity to explore through play-based learning,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child care.

The program requires playgrounds to be of universal design, which means that they must be accessible to as many people as possible without adaptation. This may include “adventure-style” playground features, the Playground Equipment Program website States.

“Parents appreciate the Playground Equipment Program because it takes the pressure off fundraising and ensures that accessible playgrounds are part of the school community,” said Andrea Sinclair, president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

Playgrounds will be designed, built and installed over the next year.

Kaitlyn Bailey | Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
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Harold B. McConnell