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District School Board of Niagara
Policy Plant Services and Operations

F-05 Playspace Equipment and Naturalized Learning and Play Spaces

Date Jun 2016
Review Jun 2021

The Playspace Equipment and Naturalized Learning and Play Spaces Policy supports District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) schools with the creation of environments where students can develop physical fitness, motor control and social skills through the safe use and installation of outdoor activity equipment or naturalized learning and playspaces. Since playspace equipment and naturalized learning and play spaces are not funded provincially, the DSBN appreciates the partnership of parents/guardians and community groups who raise funds for purchase, installation, and ongoing repairs and maintenance of playspace equipment and naturalized learning and play spaces at schools.

Definitions:

Playspace equipment – a playstructure anchored to the ground or having natural stability, and not intended to be moved, that is for use in the play areas located on the playground.

Naturalized Learning and Play Space – may include the use of trees, boulders, tree stumps, pathways, trails, garden areas or benches to create outdoor classrooms or a social centre, and areas sheltered from the elements on the school property or in the early learning play area.

Parameters:

Safety considerations are paramount when purchasing playspace equipment. Therefore, schools are expected to act in accordance with the Administrative Procedures of the DSBN, and in consultation with Purchasing and Facility Services, regarding the purchase, installation and maintenance of playspace equipment to ensure:

  • Compliance with the DSBN Purchasing Policy and the Government of Ontario Broader Public Sector Procurement Directives.
  • Installation is conducted by a reputable vendor with proof of insurance and WSIB coverage.
  • New playspace equipment meets the current C.S.A. standards
  • New playspace equipment installations are compliant with the Accessibility for Ontario with Disabilities Act (including site accessibility and ground level accessible equipment for student enjoyment).
  • The Ground surfacing is appropriate and meets current C.S.A. standards.
  • The use of native species in naturalized playspaces and no poisonous plants or invasive species shall be utilized in these spaces.
  • The best value is derived for the community fund raising efforts.
  • The playspace equipment is appropriately located and correctly installed.
  • The total cost of ownership is considered: purchase, installation, certification and ongoing maintenance costs.
  • If the equipment or naturalized learning and play space poses a safety hazard or is deemed unmanageable, and the school determines after consultation with Facility Services it is unable or unwilling to finance the repair costs, then it will be removed.

Responsibility for Playspace Equipment and Naturalized Learning and Play Spaces:

School Administrator(s) are responsible for the inspection and supervision, during normal school hours, of playspace equipment and naturalized learning and play spaces consistent with the appropriate Administrative Procedures and other relevant DSBN guidelines, and consistent with the Education Act and Regulations.

References

  • Policy B-1: Purchasing Policy
  • Administrative Procedure 1-5: School Initiated Alteration Projects
  • Administrative Procedure 1-15: Purchase and Installation of New Playspace Equipment and Ground Surfaces
  • Administrative Procedure 1-16: Inspection, Supervision and Operation of Playspace Equipment