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Co-op Community Spaces kicks in for nature playground


Ste. Rose School will have a new nature playground and outdoor classroom thanks to a grant from the Co-op Community Spaces program.
On Friday, it was announced Ste. Rose School would receive $32,000 for its playground structure.
The program is celebrating its fifth anniversary and has provided more than $8.5 million to 114 projects across western Canada. This year, more than $2 million will go towards 26 projects across western Canada.
Co-op president Chris Dzisiak said Co-op is about giving back to the community.
“Co-op is owned by the local community. Why wouldn’t you look to put money back into the local community. With the restructuring of SEL (social and emotional learning) and it becoming an organization that’s even more focused on local communities, this Community Spaces program has just been absolutely fantastic for developing great projects for these communities,” he said.
“Ste. Rose needed a good project and the school came up with a great idea. There’s no reason in the world not to support something like that. I think it’s just fantastic.”
Dzisiak looked at the mountain bike trail system at the Selo Ukraina site as an example of the Community Spaces program coming into play, as the trail will host a bike race this summer.
Ste. Rose School principal Rhonda Buchanan said the playground will provide an “awesome meeting place and awesome learning place for staff and students.”
“It’s going to be an opportunity for our teachers to put hands-on learning into play from the curriculum. I am very excited. Our staff is very excited. And the opportunity just to enhance learning and to promote outdoor and active lifestyles is just fabulous,” she added.
The facility will encompass three parts. There will be a gazebo in one area. A secondary area will feature a nature playground with music being played and a water feature.
“And we’re going to have different types of elements. And what will happen is teachers can set up curriculum activities in that area and they’ll be able to let those kids explore and do the activities and then move to an area that’s like a gathering place, where we’ll have open seating and we’ll be able to discuss and discover and learn from what they were just doing in that nature area,” Buchanan explained.
Like the existing playground, the new structure will be open to the public to use after school hours.
“We encourage them always to come. They have been very respectful with our playground. So it’s community, it’s academic, it’s outdoor living. It’s exciting, actually,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan hopes construction will begin as early as August and be completed by September 2020.

Doug Zywina