'Let the kids play': Ontario school reverses student play policy
TORONTO – A few days after delivering a notice to parents about its playground policy, an Ontario school has reversed its decision about not allowing students to play outside before the start of class.
Cambridge, Ont. mother Amy Baxter said she received a follow-up notice from Silverheights Public School on Thursday, which states students are allowed to play in organized activities for 15 minutes right before the bell. Baxter’s young daughter is in senior kindergarten at the school.
“I’d consider this a win,” she wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca. “Let the kids play!”
Baxter received a statement from the school’s principal on Thursday about the policy change.
“Safety of student is always my number one priority. Thank you to parents for understanding and supporting decisions that need to be made in order to keep students safe,” read the statement. “I am happy to share that we have put interim measures in place, that will allow students to participate in organized activities between 8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.”
Baxter first voiced her concerns on Tuesday about a notice she received from the school, which said students “should not be participating in organized activities (eg: soccer, basketball, volleyball) or be on the creative climber prior to the school day starting.” The first notice also said students “may simply chat with their friends while waiting for the bell to ring and enter the building.”
On Tuesday, the Waterloo Region District School Board said that the restriction on outdoor play was an “interim measure” due to soil erosion.
“There is some soil erosion happening on school grounds near the soccer field and basketball court that students are asked to avoid. We are working with our facility services department to make the necessary repairs,” the school board’s spokesperson said in an email.
But Baxter said the school never sent out any notices about soil erosions or safety concerns.
The school board addressed why the notice was sent, but did not respond to follow-up questions about why soil erosion wasn’t cited in the initial notice to parents.
Baxter said she shared the initial notice with CTVNews.ca because she was shocked that a school would try to stop students from playing before class and was hoping to prevent the policy from spreading.