Monterey Middle School school’s parent council plan to landscape the play space.

(VIDEO) Monterey parents revise school’s landscape plans

Parent Advisory Council aims to add more to schoolyard




The new outdoor play space at Monterey Middle School is hard to peg.

The new swings get nice and high, offering a great view and the amphitheatre is roomy enough to share, says student Kate Andrews.

“I think it’s really cool. It’s nice and big,” she said. “You can see the entire class during class and there’s enough room to sit with lots of room for all your friends to hang out.”

The Parent Advisory Council installed an amphitheatre and age-appropriate swing set but has grand landscaping plans to only improve on the middle years experience at the Oak Bay school. Those elements officially opened with a ribbon cutting and ceremony last week.

“I often pinch myself when I realize where we are with this project. It feels like it’s been a long haul in some ways,” said parent project leader Kimberley Rogers.

“It’s apt that we’re here in a rainy November because this is how the whole story began.”

A fall 2013 storm took down a tree branch and  destroyed playground equipment, sparking a Parent Advisory Council survey of students and staff.

The survey showed no appetite for an elementary school playground as had existed. Teachers want to take learning outdoors, while students seek a place to socialize – and swings. PAC started fundraising within the school and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation donated $10,000 toward the cause.

“Last spring we pulled together enough funds for a landscape architect to develop a vision,” Rogers said. “We decided to break it into chunks and work step by step.”

This summer the PAC installed the boulder seating area, a socializing area and the much-requested swing set.

“I really enjoy the new swings and my friends and I have found a special place that’s really comfortable in the boulder seating area where we like to sit,” said student M.C. for the event Ainsley Fenton. “We love to enjoy the sun streaming through the branches of the Garry oak trees. I can hardly wait for the next phases of the playground to be installed.”

The PAC hopes to add more elements in the spring.

Deborah Nohr, a trustee with the Greater Victoria School District sees the updated landscaping as a critical component for students not only academically but socially as well.

“You have a great passion for the outdoors, for sports and to get your heart racing in a multitude of different ways,” Nohr told students during the launch. “Now that you have your playground and you have your outdoor classroom it’s just going to continue to support that active learning and that connection to the outdoors. I’m thrilled about that.”

In a bid to showcase the variety of uses for the amphitheatre principal Ken Andrews had the Monterey strings perform a couple songs for those in attendance. He hopes to see that group and others use the the space once wet weather lets up.

 

“We’re excited to have strings play in the new outdoor area … whether it’s a music ensemble playing or a mini play or a social science class doing skits … I love that when we embed learning in the natural world,” he said. “If we’re going to build leaders of the future to take care of our world first we’ve got to know it and love it and that starts with experiences outside.”

 

 

Just Posted

Uplands Park designated a national heritage site

Feds make $4.3 million announcement in Oak Bay

Protester threatens citizens arrest during morning federal funding announcement in Oak Bay

Police escort protester away after confronting federal minister

Oak Bay police arrest one of two suspects after resident held at gunpoint

Police expect second arrest ‘in the very near future’ after armed robbery

Victoria firefighters free ensnared seagull

BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre and animal control also responded

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read