Habitat Systems Inc. promotes play for all ages, and uses this image as an example of play structures for ages 13 and up, inspired by the television show American Ninja Warrior. (Habitat image)

Habitat Systems Inc. promotes play for all ages, and uses this image as an example of play structures for ages 13 and up, inspired by the television show American Ninja Warrior. (Habitat image)

Chilliwack’s middle schools to get $75,000 in playground funds

Can’t underestimate the value of play, says school board chair

Chilliwack middle schoolers will soon have more places to socialize and stay active on campus.

Four middle schools will receive a $75,000 bonus for capital costs for the creation of play structure areas, for a total of $300,000. The decision was made Tuesday night, after a brief report from superintendent Evelyn Novak. The middle schools receiving the funds are A.D. Rundle, Vedder, Chilliwack and Mount Slesse. Rosedale middle school is already equipped with several play structures suitable for various ages.

“I don’t think we can underestimate the value of play, and time in fresh air,” said board chair Paul McManus. “I think it’s critical.”

Novak said the intent of the funding initiative is to take the burden off of Parent Advisory Councils, which are often overwhelmed with fundraising for new playgrounds. Also, Chilliwack’s middle schools will welcome Grade 6s next September, Novak said. With the lowering of the middle school age, play structures have been identified by parents and staff as a priority.

But Trustee Heather Maahs, the sole vote against the funding, said there are more important things to worry about. She questioned how many students ages 12 to 14 would actually use a play structure.

“If we’re going to spend $75,000 on each of our middle schools I would be much more inclined to see it go to literacy initiatives or libraries,” she said.

“We’re actually looking at play structures that are specifically for adolescents,” Novak explained. That could mean exercise circuits that could work in conjunction with phys ed classes, or climbing walls and rungs with a degree of difficulty, and other higher level outdoor fitness areas that work areas like core muscles.

In addition, the areas will provide an additional area for students to gather and socialize, she said.

“It’s not just an area to play on,” Novak said. “It’s a social area where kids can gather, and visit. I’m not saying this is going to be for all, but this is going to be an option.”

Middle schools will also have a 15-minute recess starting in September 2018, to encourage breaks, exercise, and good health. Middle schools are closed campuses, and students are required to stay on the grounds during breaks, including recess and lunch.

It will be up to each school administration and their PAC to decide what their play areas will look like, and whether to fundraise more. The installation will be handled by district staff.

Candy Ross, a parent on the playground committee at Chilliwack middle school, said Wednesday that the funds are a “much-welcomed offer from the district.”

“I think there is a realization that as middle schools switch to a younger, more elementary style of model, that play structures are a necessity for the children,” she added.

Additionally, middle school PACs are not the fundraising entities that elementary school PACs are, Ross said.

“I feel they (the board and staff) realize that parents reach a kind of burnout from fundraisers by this stage and any effort will be waning, if not lost,” she said. “This money will also help immensely as the middle school PACs apply for capital grants, as most applications require an existing budget to contribute or to match funds that are already in place.”


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read