Volunteer parents and teachers broke ground last Saturday on a project to build an outdoor learning space for the students of École Oceanside Elementary School.

Parents and teachers working together to build an outdoor learning space

Project will be partially finished by the start of the school year in September, completely done by December

A group of passionate parents and teachers broke ground last weekend, pushing forward a school project nearly one year in the making.

Volunteers are installing what they call an “outdoor learning space” in École Oceanside Elementary School to accommodate the new fleet of elementary-age students who took over the former middle school last year, after a round of emotional school closures.

“When you send 500 students out to play they need something to do,” said OES Kindergarden teacher Gaynor Charnock.

“They need to be engaged, happy and learning.”

Parents describe the former play area behind the school as “a small, grassy, fenced-off spot with a concrete picnic table.”

Corry Pettigrew, mother of two, said it wasn’t ideal for children.

So teachers started asking students how they wanted to use their outdoor space and in collaboration with parents a new concept for an outdoor learning space was born.

It includes a covered stage, sandbox, pathway, music garden and monkey bars.

It comes with a price tag of around $100,000, which parents are fundraising almost entirely themselves, however they’ve had tons of community support including donated building materials, machinery and time. Two excavators were at the site throughout the B.C. Day long weekend getting the project started.

Pettigrew explains this is phase one of a two-part project that will be completed over the next five years. The second phase will focus on the field in front of the school.

She said the new space can be used by students during school hours, but also the public during non-school hours, serving as a community park for the surrounding residential area.

Pettigrew admits it was a “disheartening” start to the school year, as many parents were disgruntled about the four school closures and catchment area realignments, but this project has quickly created a sense of community amongst new parents and teachers.

“I have young kids who will be attending this school for the next 12 years,” she said. “I believe if you’re going to complain about something you should do something about it… This is something tangible.”

EOES’s parent advisory council (PAC) sub committee, the Landscape and Parks Committee, are hoping to have most of the project finished by September for the start of the school year, with the exception of the covered stage.

They are slated to complete the stage by December and planning a grand opening.

To make a financial contribution to the project, cheques can be made out to School District 69 attention to OES Landscape and Parks, or by visiting www.gofundme.com/EOESlearningspace.

For more information contact corrypettigrew@gmail.com.

Just Posted

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

Parksville-area thieves target catalytic converters

RCMP: ‘We’re getting the same thing in terms of theft of gas’

Courtenay-Alberni Liberal candidate discusses Trudeau’s ‘brownface’ controversy

Gowans: ‘I would say it’s disappointing for sure. It was racist, as the Prime Minister admitted to’

RCMP: No timeline for update on fatal hit-and-run in Parksville

Complexity of case a factor in length of the investigation

Mount Arrowsmith Brewing takes silver at World Beer Awards

Winning IPA made with centennial, citra and amarillo hops

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read