Why is schoolyard rejuvenation important?

The Churchill schoolyard provides our children opportunities for gross motor development, imaginative thinking, and cooperative play. Our well-used structure needs to be updated and rejuvenated (before the OCDSB deems that the existing structure is unusable). In addition, the rest of the outdoor space needs to be re-envisioned so that it not only continues to provide our children with fundamental skills, but that it does so in a way that embeds a commitment to alternative educational ideals, environmental stewardship, and a connection to nature – all year-round!

Grounded in Play, the Churchill Alternative Schoolyard Rejuvenation Project, is being led by a committee of parents and school staff that has been organizing fundraising activities, gathering input, and facilitating the development of a plan for rejuvenating the schoolyard.

Check out this project website as well as the visioning board located outside the school office to keep updated about the ideas, feedback, and other elements of the rejuvenation process.

What is the scope of the project?

The Grounded in Play visioning process has considered the entire outdoor space on the Churchill school property, including replacing our long-serving yet tired play structure.

What is the project’s mission?

Our mission is that the schoolyard provide a variety of opportunities for outdoor, self-directed play and is  accessible to every student during all four seasons of the year, and that the schoolyard reflects our Alternative tenets and communicates these values to those who visit our school grounds.

What are the principles that are guiding the rejuvenation process?

Grounded in Play – our schoolyard rejuvenation project – will:

  • Be participatory and engage all of the relevant stakeholders in the process
  • Reflect Churchill’s Alternative tenets
  • Communicate the Alternative vision to a wider audience, including through our fundraising efforts

What is the project’s timeline?

This is a multi-phased process:

  • Spring / Fall 2016: Visioning
  • Early 2017: Fundraising and planning begin
  • Spring 2018: Final fundraising campaign
  • Summer 2018: Upper Yard build, Phase 1
  • Summer 2019: Upper Yard build, Phase 2

What is the plan for the Upper Yard and how much will it cost?

In January 2018 CASC approved a design for the Upper Yard.  The design, developed by the OCDSB with significant input from the Churchill community, has many nature-inspired structural elements.  Click here to see the plan.

When will the Upper Yard be built?

The OCDSB will soon put the design out to tender with a timeline of a Phase 1 Summer 2018 build.  It is possible that the log jam structure may only be added during Phase 2 (the summer of 2019) owing to the timeline for committing funds.

How much will it cost?

The plan for the Upper Yard has been estimated to cost $130K, though the bid tendering process will provide more precise information.  This estimate falls within the price range that the school was anticipating.

How much MORE do we need to raise?

We have $95,000 in the bank / committed, thanks to contributions from CASC, the school, and the school community, as well as grants from the OCDSB and the City of Ottawa.  This is enough to build a significant portion of the plan, but we need to raise about $35,000 more to complete the plan.

Our current target for raising the $35,000 is end of June 2018. However, if we can raise most of that money by April 11th, we could actually build the entire yard at once. We believe this scenario is possible, as other schools have raised these sums of money in this timeframe before. However, we are prepared to proceed with a two-phase build if needed.

Are we sure that the yard will be rebuilt in time for September 2018?  We thought it would be rebuilt last summer but that didn’t happen.

Last April (2017) we were approved for a $25K schoolyard grant from the OCDSB that we understood needed to be used for a summer 2017 build.  As we learned over the next 3 months, the timeline that was offered was too short to rebuild the yard, especially given the naturalized features that suited our school community.  By the end of the school year, when it was determined that a 2017 build was not possible, the $25K grant was extended until 2018.  Thanks to all of your donations last year, we have banked enough to pay for all of the features in the yard except the log jam structure. With this money and a design in hand we’ve been assured that we’ll achieve our 2018 build and, at worst, have to build the log jam structure in a second phase over the summer of 2019.

Why is it necessary for us to fundraise for this project?

School communities are responsible for raising the funds necessary to replace and rebuild school play structures and to make improvements to their schoolyards.  In addition to direct fundraising, grants can contribute to schoolyard development projects.

I want to help fund a renewed schoolyard!  How do I give?  And will I get a tax receipt?

There are two ways to donate and YES, you’ll receive an official donation receipt:

1)  Online: Click Here to make a secure online donation facilitated through the CHIMP Foundation (Charitable Impact Foundation (Canada)).

  • You will immediately receive a tax receipt for your donation from CHIMP Foundation.

2)  By cheque or cash: Please make your cheque out to Churchill Alternative School, label it “schoolyard donation” and drop it off at the school office or send it by mail.

  • If you would like to receive a tax receipt for your donation, please ensure that we have your name and full address (The tax receipt will be issued by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board).
  • The school board can only issue tax receipts for donations of $25 or more.

Can I help?

YES! There are many ways to get involved aside from just making a gift:

  • Join our Schoolyard Rejuvenation Project Committee
  • Get involved in one of several fundraising projects

We want to hear from you!  Contact us at groundedinplay@gmail.com.