Kids under the age of five will soon be able to play on the roof of Abbotsford’s Highstreet Shopping Centre.
That is, as long as they are enrolled in the brand new CEFA Early Learning centre location at the mall.
CEFA Abbotsford will be occupying the retail space beside what used to be the Steve Nash Fitness Centre on the second floor of the north side of the mall directly above Sleep Country.
Shoppers and those living in the area have likely noticed the construction occurring on the roof over the past few weeks, and that is where the playground will be located.
Christina Strudwick, the franchise partner for the Abbotsford location, told The News it will be a significant private playground to complement the classroom activities occurring below.
“We will offer an almost 6,000-square-foot private rooftop playground,” she stated in an email. “Our playground will include natural wood elements and will be divided into four age-appropriate play areas – two for the under-3 programs and two for the over-3 programs. It will allow for a large space that fosters unstructured, free play for the children. Our facility is wheelchair-accessible and boasts a private lift for access between the classroom levels and playground directly within the school.”
Strudwick explained it will be a turf surface on the playground, and the current scaffolding will be removed once construction is complete.
“There will be hills and mounds built on the surface to create a natural obstacle course and will include a built-in slide,” she said. “There will be boulders, stumps and logs, which will provide a way for children to work on gross motor skills such as balance while they navigate over, on top and around them. There will be wood elements that mimic bridges for imaginative play. I found that with my own children, natural elements provided a calm atmosphere. It allowed them to play without being overstimulated. I knew this would be a perfect setting for our playground and had it designed with that in mind.”
The rooftop playground concept will not be unique to the Abbotsford location, as several other CEFA locations have the feature. However, it appears to be the largest CEFA rooftop playground in terms of square footage. Locations in Langley and Surrey both have the feature, but are smaller.
Strudwick added that the facility also includes a 10,000-square-foot area below for classrooms and has space for 144 children, including 48 spaces for infants and toddlers.
CEFA was established in 1996 and offers students a curriculum of subjects such as reading, writing, math, science, fine arts, drama, dance, music and yoga.
An opening date for the new Abbotsford location has not yet been finalized, but it is anticipated to occur around the end of June.