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Idea #5443


755 votes Show your support for this idea by voting!

About This Idea:


Medium ($25K - 100K)



Posted by: Thunderbird staff

Organization: Thunderbird Elementary

Location: 2325 Cassiar Street, Vancouver BC.

Idea Created: September 27, 2010


We at Thunderbird are very fortunate. We have beautiful students, and a large space for those children to play. What we don't have at Thunderbird is a playground for those children to use during recess, lunch, or anytime. Parents would meet on the benches after school and supervise their children while they played. This was a lovely space for the community to get together and hear about school events. These informal gatherings were an important part of our community and helped to pass information in a high ESL neighbourhood. Sadly, the two wooden playgrounds on which our youngest students played on every day were deemed unsafe and taken away during the summer of 2009. In the fall, everyone was disappointed to see that our playgrounds had been removed and the area had now become a mudpit. The benches around the playground sit empty. It is our hope to revive this space and create a playground for our students and the adjacent community. Our school of 300 enrolls students from kindergarten to grade seven, a Strongstart program for preschool children, and many intellectually and physically challenged students. At present, the playground equipment we have (constructed by the staff on a weekend and located on the other side of the school) cannot accommodate the amount of students we have in the school. Furthermore, this equipment is designed for intermediate students, so the primary children (K-3) have no access at all. We would like to change this as we feel that playing and climbing are part of recess play and a child's development. Also, part of the curriculum now requires 30 minutes per day of physical activity, which can include time on the playground. When there is no playground, the children often stand around and are less active. If we are successful in receiving a grant, our plan is to develop an outdoor play facility that encompasses a variety of physical challenges and is inclusive to all students in the primary grades. Our community is designated as being one of Vancouver's most vulnerable neighbourhoods, and with this comes the fact that money and fundraising are not easily accessed. Our Principal was frustrated with all the roadblocks stopping us from replacing the playground equipment and dove into alternate plans for the space in the meantime. We now have a concept for our "mudpit" which incorporates the very important need for daily physical activity and a cultural/learning component. The "mudpit" will hopefully include a carved totem and five surrounding cedar panels, an amphitheatre made of large Vancouver boulders and many indigenous plants making up the outdoor learning space. We hope this space will be used and enjoyed and protected by all of our community. Thunderbird Elementary School is attached to a Community Centre that provides many programs after school. This community centre however, does not have a playground on site. Children waiting for programs or waiting for rides would often use the Thunderbird playground as a meeting place, where they could play as they waited. This is no longer on option. Providing a playground would help the community have a place to meet in a friendly environment that is easily accessible. Our playground was so much more to our school than just monkey bars. We as a community need to revitalize this "mudpit" and turn it into an even greater space than it once was. With your help, we can do this!

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