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Summer playgrounds double to cope with demand

13:09 21/05/2015

The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) in Brussels is increasing the number of organised playgrounds this summer from eight to 18 to cope with the overwhelming demand, commission chair Guy Vanhengel has announced.

The playgrounds are a form of organised daycare for children during school holidays, mainly those of pre-school and primary age in the Dutch-speaking school sector. In recent years, the number had been declining, with schools less likely to allow the use of their facilities for fear of damages, explained Vanhengel.

With the most recent elections, responsibility for the playgrounds moved from the department for youth to the education department, and Vanhengel said he used the occasion to strengthen the bond with schools.

From now on, the schools will organise the playground care, with one of their own teachers in charge. They are permitted to offer priority to their own pupils. At the same time, more attention will be paid to the use of Dutch as a common language during playground activities, just as it is during normal school activities.

As a result of the new rules, the number of available sites has increased from a low point of eight last year to 18 this summer, spread across 11 communes in the capital. At the peak of activity, the playgrounds will be looking after 1,060 children, compared to 560 last year. Priority reservations are already in; booking is now open to everyone.

 

Photo courtesy VGC

Written by Alan Hope