While BC parents save their pennies, Alberta government funds playgrounds

Two & Out
By James Peters
June 10, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Finally, a government appears to understand something about what a young child needs when he or she goes to school. 

It's not just about smaller classes and adequate teaching resources. 

The Alberta government announced last week that it will spend $20 million over the next four years on playgrounds. 

$5 million a year won't break the bank, but will help build dozens of new playgrounds every year. 

Here in BC, with our years of declining or flat enrolment, the province hasn't been building new schools, but it hasn't been doing a lot to spruce up the schools it has either, and that includes play spaces for young students. 

It's the responsibility of parents to find funding for playgrounds. 

Thus, you get parent advisory councils embarking on years and years of fundraiser after fundraiser, trying to scrape together enough cash to replace playgrounds that are eroding away. 

This leads to schools relying on contests like the one that Marion Schilling Elementary has entered, hoping beyond hope it can win some money to replace its play structure. 

I hope they are successful. 

At the school where my children attend, contests have not proven to be helpful in the past, and aren't a sustainable way to fund needed equipment for students. 

It's like relying on the lottery to fund your retirement. 

At our school, a small group of dedicated and half-burnt out parents organize event after event, collecting $100 here and $50 there, all the while praying someone will come forward with the funds to replace what is quickly becoming a tattered husk of a play area. 

That someone should be BC's Minister of Education, whenever we get one in place. 

Playgrounds allow children a chance to match their physical development with the intellectual development they are receiving inside the classroom. 

They encourage young students to connect with each other and blow off steam from what is increasingly becoming a more and more serious atmosphere inside the school's walls. 

They let kids be kids. 

I can't think of anything more crucial to a child's development, and thus more worthy of funding in our public education system.