Obstacles are Fun at Cliff Drive

Students at Cliff Drive Elementary School kicked-off this school year with an exciting new addition to their outdoor play area—a new obstacle course!

The project was a joint initiative between the school Parent Advisory Council, the Delta School District and the Corporation of Delta.

Although the school has an all-ages playground already, parent and project lead Tara Heathcote says the obstacle course fills a need that the parents, staff and students had identified over the previous years.

“We saw that our intermediate students needed an addition to our playground. We recognized that many of the students did not want to play on traditional playground equipment anymore, like slides and swings.”

Two years ago Heathcote raced in the Tough Mudder race in Whistler, and fell in love with the challenge, competition and fun of the obstacle course race.

“Shortly after I competed in Tough Mudder, the PAC approached me and asked me if I’d head up the Playground Enhancement Committee, and I quickly said yes, because I had this idea of an obstacle course for the kids,” says Heathcote. “Our new obstacle course is an exciting and fun way for the kids to be active and stay healthy. We are hoping that this obstacle course improves the health of our whole community. That Cliff Drive students use this course during school hours and that our whole community uses it after school hours—including teenagers, adults and families.”

The unique course was custom-designed by Henderson Recreation Equipment for Cliff Drive Elementary, and is inspired by the obstacle courses in the Tough Mudder races and also the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior. The goal is to improve the racer’s coordination, strength, agility, balance and cardiovascular fitness.

At the official unveiling on Thursday afternoon, it was reiterated that play areas (like the new obstacle course at Cliff Dive) are important in supporting students’ physical literacy and a valuable addition to the entire community.

“This is an extension of our indoor classroom. This is our outdoor classroom. This is where the social learning takes place; where students learn to be citizens, and to play, share and collaborate,” Delta School District Assistant Nancy Gordon told the crowd of students, parents and staff who gathered for the grand opening of the course.

With help from volunteer BCIT students, an APP will be launched in the next month, so the racers can track their race times, view their progress over periods of time, and also see a leaderboard of top racers per grade/age, school and gender.

“This is your community park,” said Delta School Board Trustee Laura Dixon. “This is a community asset. This is for kids not just from nine to three. This is for you to play in the evenings and on weekends and holidays,” said school board chair Laura Dixon.

To celebrate the opening of the course, members of Delta Police Department and Delta Fire Department challenged each other to a friendly race. In the spirit of teamwork, the race ended in a tie.

Thank You’s were expressed for all those who contributed to the project’s success – a project that will serve not only Cliff Drive Elementary’s students, but also the entire Tsawwassen community.

Photos from the event can be viewed on Flickr


Cliff Drive would like to sincerely thank the Delta School District for all of the site preparation work, borders and wood chips, which was around $22,000 of in-kind services. We’d also like to thank the Corporation of Delta for a $35,000 matching grant, Reigning Champ for a $5,000 donation, Waterstone Law for a $2500 donation and Tsawwassen McDonalds for a $1,000 donation. We’d also like to thank the many various retailers in Tsawwassen and Ladner that donated items towards our silent auctions over the past 2 years that contributed to the fundraising towards this obstacle course. We’d like to thank all parents, students, staff and the PAC of Cliff Drive for their efforts and support in many various fundraising efforts as well.