Students in years three to six at Curtin Primary School are enjoying their newly-completed sensory playground, which they helped to design themselves.
The playground includes a number of sensory features, such as sand, logs and huts, and was funded by money raised from the school’s walkathon and a further $15,000 from the Local Schools Community Fund secured by local MP, Alicia Payne.
Curtin Primary School principal Merryn O’Dea said the new addition to the schoolyard has been very popular with the students, and involving them in the design process was an important way to help students develop a sense of agency and support their wellbeing.
“Kids are at school for so much of their day that we want it to be a place where everybody feels that they belong and have places they like to go,” she said, “that their unique interests are met and that they’re able to play and interact with peers, and learn in a variety of different settings throughout the day.”
The playground’s final design and installation was done by Dan & Dan Landscaping, and Ms O’Dea said it prompts both imaginary and physical play. She said the timing of the playground construction worked out “perfectly” as kids adjust to being back in the classroom after remote learning due to COVID-19.
“Children are really resilient, but coming back from a period of remote learning, what we found was when we talked to our kids about it, what they missed was being together physically,” she said.
“Even though we made lots of ways when we were away to keep them in touch, virtually, just to be alone and physically playing is really important. So the timing was perfect.
“Like everything we do in a school, we really make sure we have time for kids to explore, learn how to use a new space and how to care for it, and then the adults can step back and let the kids go for it.”
Federal Member for Canberra Alicia Payne said it was a wonderful thing for the students after a difficult year.
“It’s a special place for the senior students to play, and a different sort of play than some of the other areas of the playground,” she said.
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