WAPS - Renew our Grades 1-3 Yard
Created October  3, 2011 by Jean Byrne
This summer, the play structure in our grades 1-3 play yard was removed and the children have been left with three vast empty areas of sand, grass and pavement. Thus, we have an urgent need to raise funds to replace the structure and revitalize the entire yard. We aim to fulfill the expressed needs of the students, teachers and parents of the school by creating a playful and safe environment in which an appreciation for nature can be nurtured. An outdoor classroom, more shade, play-houses, and a garden in the courtyard are a few examples of what we hope to achieve. The entire community stands to benefit, beyond the 470 families that are represented in our school body. Only through the generosity of our families and community can our dreams be accomplished. Please consider supporting this worthy endeavor.
**Why is this project important?**
"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future."
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things."
The outdoor environment really does make a large difference in the overall school experience of the grade school student. Thus, we feel that by removing pavement, creating new green-space, installing a colorful and challenging playstructure, and creating spaces for quiet and imaginative play, we are enhancing and improving the current education of our children, as well as encouraging them to have a love of school that they will carry with them throughout their lives. And we will leave a lasting legacy for the children of the community for many, many years to come.
The primary goal of the Primary Yard and Court Yard Renewal Project is to develop an outdoor environment for the students in Grades 1 to 3 that:
- Encourages various different types of play; promotes physical activity but also provides areas for children who desire more passive and quiet spaces for play;
- Is safe – ensuring current standards are met, and appropriate surfaces are provided for play (e.g. grass area for soccer), and that the design enhances the children’s comfort from exposure to the heat and sun;
- Encourages an appreciation for nature through play in the natural environment; and
- Provides teachers with an area for outdoor learning (which could be used by the entire school).
The project also aims to develop the area in the courtyard into a safe and comfortable area where children of grades 1 to 6 can mingle and play together.
In the initial stage of this project, a survey of students, teachers and parents was conducted. According to the survey results, a simple replacement of the play structure was not enough. It was desired that the entire yard be revitalized. Thus, the following elements have been proposed:
- New Play Equipment:
Due to the large population at our school (there are approx. 300 primary students), we have planned for one large, accessible play structure on wood fibre, a smaller structure on sand, and two play houses to spread out the students over a greater area. Accessibility is also a key factor in our planning, as we hope to comply with school board and city objectives for accessibility.
- Landscape Features
More trees, a low grassy mound with pathways (planned for accessibility), and rock seating walls will create a more interesting environment for the students who prefer to wander or find a quiet place to sit in some shade.
- Courtyard Garden
The large, paved courtyard is the shared area of play for all grades. We proposed to add shade and seating in the form of a small 10m x 10m garden with a shade tree and four picnic tables. Stepping stones will add a bit of playfulness and interest.
- Outdoor Classroom
The teachers at WAPS are eager to have an outdoor classroom area in which to nurture an appreciation for the environment and enhance their teaching curriculum. The students would like more shade and seating, as well as an area for drama and imaginative play. We combined these desires in an outdoor classroom gazebo with amphitheatre-like bench seating and a stage.
- Soccer Field
In every class we surveyed, more grass for playing soccer was requested. Parents and teachers, too, expressed a desire for a larger area to play soccer. So we have proposed removing 965 sq. m. of asphalt to create a 20m x 30m soccer field, which would be surfaced with artificial turf. The turf would provided a longer season for play, as the rainy days of spring and autumn combined with the poor drainage of the yard would greatly diminish its usage.
_**Thank you for your consideration! If you believe in this project, don't forget to place your vote every day!**_