Douglasdale School Playground Replacement
Douglasdale School, located in the community of Douglasdale, is the designated CBE School for children from the communities of Douglasdale, Douglas Glen, and Quarry Park. There are approximately 400 students that currently attend Kindergarten through Grade 4 at Douglasdale. Due to increased demand on CBE middle and high schools, Douglasdale will expand next school year to include Grade 5, increasing our school population to approximately 500 students. Our school is unique in part due to our two specialized classes that are part of CBE’s Enhanced Educational Supports (EES) program. These EES classrooms support children with moderate to severe developmental delays.
At Douglasdale School, the school motto is: Imagine, Create, Explore. There is no better place to do this than on the school playground. However, our playground is no longer what it used to be, the equipment is 18 years old this fall, and it is in need of a serious update. Over time, the accessible rubber ground surface has begun to erode due to heavy use and weather. This rubber surface allows for all students of varied ability to use the playground, with an uneven and crumbling surface it makes it more challenging for our EES Students to access.
Additionally, the current playground does not include many inclusive elements and a number of pieces of equipment have been removed due to safety concerns from vandalism and the age of the equipment. One of the children’s favourites was a climbing, spinning structure that was no longer safe resulting in its removal a couple of years ago. Climbing equipment is a fun way for kids to be active, challenge themselves, and build their strength. We plan to create a play environment that is inclusive and accessible to all the children in our school, while allowing for increased concurrent play through a design that makes better use of our space.
Building a new playground is a costly endeavor; however, it is also a critical part of the school and wider community. The new playground will provide greater learning, playing, and exploring for our students and those within the community for many years to come. With this in mind, we would like to use the Field Law Community Fund Grant to help fund the new structure with installation taking place in the Fall of 2022. The playground will be home to 500 students a year from Douglasdale School as well as countless children from the surrounding area for many years to come.
Who Will it Benefit?
There are many people within our community who will benefit directly from this playground, including our 500 students, 30 staff, parents, and families within community. Through a positive impact on both physical and mental health for the children of our community the indirect far-reaching benefits are difficult to quantify but would go far beyond our direct community.
Being able to cooperatively play is an important skill for children and impacts their development into successful adults. Playgrounds empower children to work together, to collaborate and to explore conflict resolution skills as they engage and explore with their peers. An outdoor, unstructured play space that is safe and age appropriate also allows children the opportunity to test their own limits and encourages safe risk-taking behaviour.
A community school is also a place to build a sense of belonging and community. Prior to the pandemic, Douglasdale School has been a place and space to bring these communities together. Gathering outdoors has become so critical to continuing to have these connections between the communities and a safe, engaging outdoor play space will support this.