Provincial education Rob Fleming test runs the new zip-line that is part of the new playground at Sidney Elementary School. The $105,000 funding for new playground came from a provincial program designed to build new playgrounds. The new playground in Sidney is the 101st new playground under the Playground Equipment Program. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney students, provincial education minister zip into new school playground

New playground at Sidney Elementary School is the 101st new playground in the province

Students from Sidney Elementary School squealed and shrieked as they officially opened a new playground Thursday afternoon under the eyes of school officials, including the provincial education minister Rob Fleming, who also enjoyed the new equipment.

“It has been an incredible addition to our school and we are extremely grateful that we have this new playground,” said Jennifer Batallas, principal of Sidney Elementary School after the opening.

About two dozen students opened the facility which the provincial government funded with $105,000 dollar through a $10 million provincial program program designed to provide new playgrounds to schools throughout the province.

RELATED: B.C. to fund 50 new school playgrounds

“The upgrade was badly needed,” said Batallas. “The play structure that was here before was coming to an end, so we needed to do something.”

Batallas predicted that the playground will improve the performance of students by giving them a chance to

The principal of Sidney Elementary School predicts a new playground will improve their performance by giving them a chance to get some fresh air and exercise in the company of each other.

“It really helps their learning and helps them be regulated for the class room,” she said.

Fleming echoed this point during his official remarks.

“It’s obviously a real advance for play-based learning for all the things that come with having modern, safe play-equipment,” he said. “It’s good for teachers, it’s good for kids, it’s good for the focus of children during their school day.”

Fleming added that the opening also marked a milestone for the program which started in 2018. “This is Playground 101 here at Sidney Elementary School,” he said, adding that the program has so far helped 25,000 students across the province.

The program also eases fundraising efforts by parents for playgrounds, he said, adding that fundraising campaigns had previously lasted up to nine years. “Those days are over,” he said. “As I said, this is Playground 101, and we look forward to playground 151 this time next year.”

Local MLA Adam Olsen said he is pleased with the investment. “Students at Sidney elementary now have a safe and accessible playground to enjoy for many years,” he said.

And as if to prove the point, both Fleming and Olsen used the playground’s zipline, and unlike the current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson they didn’t get stuck.



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