Sunday, May 24, 2009

Parking? Or balanced day?

This article out of Owen Sound touches on parents' views for the relocation of a primary playground and expansion of the school parking lot.
The need for an expansion to the parking lot is completely understandable. With walking distances and the 'evolution' of parenting, many parents drive their kids back and forth from home to school and vice-versa. Many older schools simply weren't configured for this, leading to traffic and parking lot chaos around elementary schools at arrival and dismissal times. Modern or renovated schools often now have kiss-and-ride lanes for parents to pull through as they drop off and pick up their charges for the day. So these expanded parking lots, etc. are required.
I wonder if the parents involved in the opposition to the relocation of the primary playground understand this-- would they be willing to let their kids walk (or walk their kids) to school to avoid the need for an expanded parking lot? It's doubtful they're willing to change their behaviour to accommodate this.
Yet, this doesn't appear to be the only issue at play.
Parent Rhonda Brown sits on the parent committee and opposes the loss of the playground, which she said in an interview Thursday she thinks will force the school to move to the balanced day format of two nutrition breaks, instead of lunch and two recesses.
Primary students play in the front of the school, while older students play in back.
The loss of one yard would require all kids to use the larger, remaining yard. Doing that would require changes to the school timetable, such as those proposed for next year's balanced day, so not everyone is on breaks outside at the same time. Otherwise, smaller students would be put at risk from collisions with bigger kids, stray soccer balls and such.
This appears, then, to be a modified version of the balanced day that would see primary students have different recesses than their junior and intermediate peers. Many other balanced-day schools still have all the students out at once, and many schools with only one yard manage to divvy up the panels to keep students from unnecessarily mingling and putting each other at risk.
So then, how much of the opposition to the lost playground is actually opposition to balanced day? The article doesn't make it clear.


Anonymous said...

I think it's part of the larger balanced school day issue, coupled with the frustration by parents of being invited to have input, offering their concerns and perspectives but not being heard.

Someone should have advised this parent community that when a board says it wants to consult with parents, and send a superintendent to run meetings on issues like the balanced school day - that likely the board and/or admin. know exactly what decision they want made and steer the parents that way.

In all likelihood it's another case of the tail wagging the dog.