Let Them Be Kids

13 Mar

My kid enjoying the park.

Look at that smile! You can almost feel the whooshing of the chilly air and hear his happy breathlessness–it’s the closest a child can get to the thrill of flying.

That’s not all the playground has to offer. There are slides, monkey bars, teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds. Equipment designed to get little legs moving and little hearts pumping. Kids need at least an hour of good exercise a day, for their health and happiness. Not to mention the fact that it’s FUN–kids learn best while they play!

So why is it that so many Oshawa schools, the very places where our children should be doing the most learning, are lacking playground equipment? This kiddie equivalent of a gym is so vital to the well-being of our children, yet so many go without it on a daily basis.

Let’s face it. Kids spend around 6 hours a day at school. When they get home it’s a flurry of preparations for dinner/bath/bed. Of course parents should make sure their children are getting out and getting active, but with most families headed by two parents working outside the home, and many children being involved in Before and After School programming (making their school day even longer), it’s just not possible for some families to get out and run around for an hour in the evening. Some exhausted moms and dads have to do their best just to keep from collapsing by the end of the day!

School should be a place that bridges the gap. Kids in after school programs should have access to a playground while they wait for their parents. Recess should involve jumping and sliding and climbing–not just standing around. Parents should be able to take their kids to the neighbourhood school on the weekends, to meet with friends and play on the climbers. In Oshawa, especially South Oshawa, that just isn’t a reality.

Village Union Public School in Oshawa recently won the opportunity to build a play structure. They will fundraise half of the cost, and Let Them Be Kids will match it. This is a fantastic chance for the students, but it begs the question–why the heck are kids having to pay for their own playground? And what about the kids who weren’t lucky enough to be chosen for this award?

Play is not a privilege–it’s a right. What is the Durham District School Board going to do about it?

-Durham Mom

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