Students helped to construct the playground on the last day of classes in June. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Students helped to construct the playground on the last day of classes in June. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Wildflower School students in Creston enjoy new playground built from recycled, natural materials

Construction was a team effort between school staff, parent volunteers, and students

This school year, the students at Wildflower School are enjoying a new playground made entirely out of natural and recycled materials.

Wildflower is a multi-age, non-traditional outlet for education that’s built around family-involvement. Currently, there are two classes with students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 and Grade 4 to 7.

For the last three years, the classes have operated out of the Creston Valley Secondary School, which means the younger students didn’t have a space outside to play, other than the open field.

“It has been totally fine though because it has encouraged them to use their imagination while they’re playing to come up with their own games,” said Colleen Bayly, parent advisory committee.

With a budget of $14,000, the playground committee utilized money from fundraising efforts, such as bottle drives and raffles, as well as grant money from Columbia Basin Trust and the Regional District of Central Kootenay. Co-ordinators Ellie and Charles Reynolds from Crawford Bay were hired to come up with the plans for construction.

Once decisions were formalized, parents volunteered many hours of their time to bring it all together, with a few even bringing a tractor and crane for the heavy lifting.

Much of the materials used to construct the playground were donated, with building materials for a shed from J. H. Huscroft Ltd., wood chips from Canfor, nine trees from Mountain Edge Nursery in Salmo, and rubber tires from Mr. Tire and Integra.

The kids helped with some of the work themselves by painting the tool shed and spreading the wood chips over the play surface.

“It’s good for the kids to be involved hands-on to take ownership of the space and see what the fundraising dollars translates into,” said Bayly.

“We want them to say, ‘Yes, we actually did this.’ It was a labour of love with hundreds of hours on the parent’s behalf. It has been a real community endeavor. Every family was involved in the brainstorming, fundraising, grant writing, or building of this playground.”

The playground was completed on the last day of classes in June, and now students are able to fully enjoy the space. It features logs and tires to play, climb, and balance on, as well as an amphitheatre with bongo drums.

“It’s not just for Wildflower students. It’s a community space,” said teacher Linda Farynowski.

“We’re hoping that everyone will have the opportunity to use it. And actually, some high school students have already started fundraising with their teachers for phase two to bring in slides and swings and stuff like that.”

Wildflower would also like to thank Yellowhead Road and Bridge Ltd., PIVA Mechanical Industrial Welding and Crane Service, and Hidden Valley Wood Fibre for their services.

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Creston Valley