Collecting clicks for Connaught P.S

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Connaught Principal Amy Hannah wants a new kindergarten yard for her school, but she needs some help to do it. Photo by Andrea Tomkins.

Amy Hannah, the principal of Connaught Public School, is hoping Kitchissippi residents will cast their support behind an initiative that may result in much-needed improvements to the school’s kindergarten play yard, but only if they win.

The Aviva Community Fund is an annual competition in which several national winning ideas across Canada share a $1 million prize. To date, Aviva Canada has provided more than $3.5 million in funding to 42 charities and community groups across the country.

It’s Hannah’s first time taking this route to find funding.

“If it only takes a second for people to vote, and if we can get a whole new play structure out of this, my goodness… why wouldn’t we do it,” says Hannah.

Hannah is hoping for 2,000 daily votes, but it’s been tough getting the word out.

Connaught is currently on the third round of voting, which ends on November 25. People can vote once a day for the duration of the contest. It only takes a moment to register an account in order to vote. (Voters can skip this step by voting via their Facebook account as well.) Hannah admits that the technology involved may be “a bit of a barrier” for some of the local families, but she’s hoping that for others, the effort is worth it.

“A playground structure is tens of thousands of dollars,” says Hannah.

“I requested a proposal of $100,000-$150,000. There’s a lot of traffic on that yard, and that play structure is very old. I’d love for there to be some green space. Part of the proposal is for an outdoor classroom, so even on the weekends families can come and use it.”

Hannah also hopes to find a way to bring some much-needed shade to the yard.

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This is what the kindergarten yard at Connaught P.S. looks like right now.

“It’s so important to have a welcoming outdoor space,” says Hannah. “If the philosophy behind full-day kindergarten and all-day learning is play-based learning, it’s imperative. It’s everything. And for some of our children that have different struggles financially, this is an opportunity for them to be exposed to the outdoors, and parks, learn how to self-regulate and learn from their peers.”

There are a number of ways to win funding in the Aviva Community Fund. In addition to the grand prizes, the Broker Prize, and an At-Risk-Youth Prize, every idea that is voted into the finals will take home a minimum of $5,000.

To win a share of the Aviva Community Fund, the idea needs to:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements for the competition.
  2. Receive enough votes in an initial open submission round to be one of the ideas that qualify for the semi-finals.
  3. Receive enough votes in the semi-finals to be one of the 30 ideas that qualify for the final judging round. All ideas qualifying for the judging phase will receive a minimum of $5,000.
  4. The Aviva Community Fund Grand Prize winner needs to get top marks from a panel of judges and have their idea completely funded.

Of course, that’s the prize Hannah is gunning for.

“Play is everything, and it’s the foundation of our kindergarten programs here. It’s pivotal,” says Hannah.

“This is the perfect example of how a community can come together to support each other. I believe that Connaught is truly a community school, and our philosophy is to best serve every single child.”

To cast your vote go to www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf17679. Hannah hopes that people will remember to vote every day, and keep voting if Connaught makes it to the semi-finals on December 2.

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