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Playground program returning in 2021

Playground program returning in 2021
Children demonstrate a new slide to officially reopen the accessible playground at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse after a 7,000 sq. ft. expansion on Aug. 31, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert’s playground program is back.

The free program aimed at kids aged 5-12 didn’t operate last year due to COVID-19 restrictions but is set to return this summer. It will be offered in ten locations from July 2 until August 20.

This year’s program will expand to a new location and add inclusive days, outdoor adventure day and the return of KidzFest.

The new location for the program is the Alfred Jenkins Field House. The location will take advantage of the largest outdoor playground in western Canada, basketball courts, beach volleyball courts and the new soccer pitches.

The Kinsmen Park, Crescent Acres, Midtown, West Hill, Miller Hill, Lions Park and Westview locations include spray parks, while the Crescent Heights and Hazeldell playground program locations will have paddling pools.

All ten locations will e staffed by two “highly-trained” playground supervisors, the city said in a press release.

All locations operate Monday to Thursday from noon to 5:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 1-5. The Kinsmen Park location also operated Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

“The Playground Program offers a variety of activities including science, arts, recreation, literacy, drama and more. Leaders have each day’s activities planned out in advance with certain theme weeks throughout the summer,” the city said.

“Social distancing, wearing of masks when indoors, hand washing and safety protocols will be part of the program.”

The press release also included the announcement of the inaugural Inclusive Playground Days at the Alfred Jenkins Field House. On July 6 and 20 and August 3 and 17 from 1-3 p.m., the program will welcome children with disabilities to let them have exclusive use of many of the inclusive elements at Alfred’s Playground at the last Field House.

Inclusive playground days are supported by Hope’s Home and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association.

“The JumpStart playground is the only one of its kind in the province and has many unique features designed specifically for children with disabilities,” the city said.

“While the inclusive elements of the playground will be reserved during this time, the other two wings of the playground will remain open to the general public. The staff of Hope’s Home will bring their clients and City Playground Program Staff will assist any other youth in the city and area with a disability during the events.”

Playground leaders will also help run an Outdoor Adventure Day at Little Red River Park on August 12. The day will be split into two three-hour sessions, with kids aged eight and nine in the morning with a session for kids aged 10-12 in the afternoon. Bus transportation will be provided from playground program locations to and from the park. The day is intended to provide a “unique day in nature, learning in a hands-on session and age-appropriate team building activities,” the city said.

They also announced the return of KidzFest, set to return on Aug. 19. It features live entertainment, games and demonstrations. More KidzFest details will be announced later in the summer.