Extra school playground funds mean more fun for more kids, families
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | 5:10 pm
Thousands more students will soon have access to new, safe and accessible playgrounds that support play and health as the Province continues to support the Playground Equipment Program (PEP) for a sixth year.
“Playgrounds are excellent for our kids’ physical and mental health, and are spaces where they can be themselves and express their fun-loving nature,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “Our government is helping communities throughout the province with better access to modern playground equipment that will benefit everyone.”
This year, the PEP will provide $5 million toward 25 new school playgrounds across 25 school districts. The Province has increased the amount of funding that school districts will receive per playground to $195,000. Playgrounds are expected to be designed, built and installed over the next year. The program significantly reduces parent-led fundraising that was previously needed to help build playgrounds.
Playgrounds promote physical activity, while encouraging students to share and develop conflict-resolution skills. They also provide students with opportunities to learn new things, reduce anxiety, improve focus, increase attention span, and enhance gross-motor, social, emotional and sensory development.
Since 2018, government has supported students and families with $35 million for new playgrounds at 256 schools, benefiting more than 63,000 students. This funding builds on the Province’s commitment to provide safe learning environments for all students.
Budget 2023 includes $3.4 billion for school capital projects over the next three years, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools. Since September 2017, the Government of B.C. has announced $3.2 billion for new and improved schools, as well as land purchases for future schools throughout the province. This includes adding approximately 20,000 new student spaces and 33,000 seismically safe seats at B.C. schools.