John Young Playground Plea

  • Submitted by:

    Pete Veurtjes


    John Young Elementary School


    Kanata, Ontario, K2L 1W7

  • Idea Created:

    October 18, 2012


    Medium ($50K - 100K)


We are a 35 year-old institution servicing Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students. We are located in Kanata, Ontario, situated in a heavily populated residential neighbourhood surrounded by high schools, churches and an indoor skating arena. Our 440 student population comes from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and we have a significant number of students with special needs. We offer a variety of programs including Early French Immersion, Gifted and a Behaviour Integration Program. Next year we are fortunate to open our doors to full-day kindergarten and over 100 additional students from a neighbouring school which will increase our enrollment by nearly 30%. Many new housing developments are also emerging in the area which will further increase our student enrollment.

A few years back our school was a high crime area suffering from vandalism. We needed to install grates over our windows at night. Now, we are proud to say that, through the help of police, our school board and the City of Ottawa, we have turned the corner. We have an inviting entrance, our yard is lined with newly-planted trees, new benches for sitting areas, some new asphalt and paint work. Our yard is a community hub and gathering place for families and is used year-round by the City. We house a before-and-after school YMCA program for students who also use our yard. Unfortunately the time has come to replace our 30 year-old play structure. Over the summer, our play structure was condemned and recently torn down. In anticipation of this, our School Council has raised $25 000 over four years in the hopes of replacing it and the school has saved $15 000. However, we still need to raise $98 000 to reach the goal. Our school has the unique idea of combining this goal along with our School Improvement Plan. The idea is based upon our Board’s critical thinking approach to student learning and achievement. It will involve getting our students engaged in critical thinking. If we are successful, we will engage our entire student population in the process of generating criteria that will be used to pick all the components of the new play structure. Students will research their ideas and engage in thoughtful and provocative conversations in the classroom.

Research has shown that childhood obesity continues to rise. Research has also shown us the many benefits of play structures. They enable students to foster friendships, build positive relationships and increase appropriate socialization focused on play-based learning. Our school is devoted to not only enriching our students academically, but we are committed to improving the overall health and well being of our students and our community.

Our school believes that our community will rally behind us and that our community spirit will be ignited by our play structure initiative. It will be a testament to how the community can come together in support of their children. Every registered voter needs to VOTE DAILY! If voters save it as a favourite, it will take less than a minute of your day to vote. Please support our idea!

A Big Thank you to Bradley's Insurance Stittsville for agreeing to sponsor our idea.

Twitter: @jyplaystructure
Facebook: JYplaystructure

Critical Thinking Process for Staff and Students:

Possible Criteria: Price/budget Longevity/durability Aesthetics Functionality Size Age appropriate Interest level Maximum capacity (weight or bodies) Safety Purpose Challenge factor Creativity level Maintenance Vandalism  School Groupings and Role in the process:
Kindergarten =Grades 1 & 2 = observe and survey the kindergarten students about their play structure use.
Grade 3 & 4 = create and conduct the school wide survey and analyze the data to present to the grade 5 & 6’s
Grades 5 & 6 = budgeting, safety considerations

 Possible Critical Thinking Questions
1)  Which structure of these do you like best? Why?
2)  Which structure of these do you think is best for our school? Why?
3)  What parts of the structure do you see being used by many students or by very few students? Mostly by boys and girls? By older students (gr.3) vs. younger students (gr. 1) 

Pre-Thinking Activities
: ·       
-Surveying your parents, family and neighbours, find out what parts of the play structure were the most fun for them.
-Using a value line, rank your top three parts of a new play structure. Do twice – once with traditional components and once with non-traditional components