Greater Grounds 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 community.

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 BOUNDARIES!

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 the Maritimes.

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 Playgrounds, visit

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 Grounds Committee.

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!


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.