Makes Glen Stewart Greater!
How do you keep 650 children active and
interested when they head out to play?
Glen Stewart Greater Grounds is a group
of dedicated parents, teachers, administrators, students and people in the
The group started meeting in June 2004.
Over the years, we've had wonderful support from the Town of Stratford, the
Eastern School District, the PEI government and local businesses.
We are interested in making the grounds
here at Glen Stewart as great as they can be for the six hundred plus students
who come here every day.
We know the challenges that our young
people face when it comes to physical activity -- so we want these grounds to be
a place where they can naturally get the fresh air and exercise they need to
grow their minds and bodies.
We are committed to making these grounds
a great place for students to learn about their environment -- and connect what
they are learning in the classroom to what is outside their windows.
Stratford Playground Knows No
Students at Glen Stewart school get to
play daily on the province's first
(and so far only!) Boundless Playground.
In the spring of 2007, the children adopted the
slogan, "Let's ALL play!" for their new playground, which is also a first for
A Boundless Playground is built on a
wheelchair-accessible surface and includes specialized equipment for children
with physical challenges. It includes elements for the visually and hearing
impaired and children with intellectual challenges. There is only one other
Boundless-certified playground in Canada.
The project had a pricetag of more than $210,000.
Ronald McDonald House Children's Charities contributed $25,000 to the Boundless
playground. The Town of Stratford committed more than $20,000 towards this phase
of the project. The committee also received a substantial contribution of
$191,500 through the Canada P-E-I Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund.
"This new playground is an example of a
community coming together, and performing at its best, to better the lives
of our young people and provide an inclusive environment for our youth,"
said the Honourable
Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour for P.E.I.
"This playground promotes sport, recreation, community spirit and gives parents
the added pleasure of knowing that their children can play on this equipment
regardless of their abilities."
The P.E.I. Council of the Disabled was also a
partner in the Boundless Playground.
To find out more about Boundless
The school celebrated the opening of the Boundless
Playground on June 20, 2007. Invited guests included federal, provincial and
municipal officials, parents, teachers and the entire student population, in
special Tshirts created especially for the day!
The Eagle Island Singers performed
the Mi'kmaq Honour Song.
Two of the province's top goalball players helped
cut the ribbon, including two-time Olympic champion Contessa Scott and Canadian
champion Stella Walsh.
"Boundless means no boundaries. That's something
that two of the athletes here today knows all about. They show us that being a
person with a disability MEANS THAT YOU CAN BE GREAT AT SPORTS. In fact, these
athletes are the BEST in Canada; one of them is even the best in the WORLD."
The new accessible playground is called The
Eagle's Nest. The school's back playground also features an exciting new
activity set and is now dubbed, The Hawk's Hangout.
"Glen Stewart School has become a focal point of
this community," says principal Pat Campbell. "And with the opening of the
Boundless Playground, the school and the Town of Stratford have become a
destination for families."
The Greater Grounds Committee has been overwhelmed
with the support they've received from people around the community.
"We formed a partnership with the Stratford Rotary
Club," explains Marie O'Hanley, chair of the Glen Stewart Home and School.
"Thanks to the local Rotary, we were able to install basketball nets on our
activity pad." The hoops are now used daily by young ball players. The
Rotary Club donated more than $15,000 towards the Glen Stewart project.
The Mounted Police Foundation also made two
contributions to the project. The committee acknowledges the help of Constable
Denise Weddle, formerly of the Stratford RCMP, who worked with the Greater
O'Hanley says she and other committee members been
touched by the support they've received, not just from large organizations, but
also from professionals and small businesses in the Stratford area.
"We've had some large donors, including the Ronald
McDonald House Children's Charities and the Infrastructure Fund," says O'Hanley.
"But we've also had people from our community who have come forward with
substantial donations, in the $1,000 range."
They include doctors, dentists and other
professionals who work or live in the Stratford area and have given generously
to O'Hanley and fellow committee member Stephanie Drake.
Drake says her committee was particularly excited
by a commitment of $2,500 from Paralympics PEI. It's the provincial organization
that supports athletes with physical challenges, including the women's goalball
and wheelchair basketball teams.
Walk, WHEEL (or Run) this Way
One of the other major projects for Greater
Grounds was designing and finding funds for a walking/ running loop (about 1/2
kilometre) around the school. It has opened up all kinds of outdoor physical
activity opportunities for the students. The Glen Stewart cross country team
scored some impressive results at the Provincial Meet in the fall of 2007.
This trail is wheelchair accessible, in keeping
with the inclusive nature of the Glen Stewart Grounds.
The mayor and councillors for the Town of
Stratford contributed $16,000 to the project. Former Glen Stewart-Bellevue Cove
MLA David McKenna was also instrumental in helping the committee to tap into
$6,000 of provincial funding. The trail also received financial support from the
Glen Stewart Home and School Association.
Stratford residents of all ages have noticed the
changes we're making on the grounds at Glen Stewart. You can see them on the
walking path in the evening and on weekends. We just ask them to bring their
doggie bags if they're also bringing their four-legged friends!
NOT FINISHED YET!!!
As for what's next, the Greater Grounds Committee
plans to install another paved surface for the back playground. It will include
a wheelchair-accessible labyrinth for the use of all the students.
The committee is also committed to adding more
Boundless playground equipment. We continue to look for groups interested in
supporting this initiative that allows ALL children to play together.
And there are plans for some exciting
environmental initiatives, including more shade trees, a P-E-I native species
garden, bird feeders, sunflower gardens and much, much more.