Oh, the lucky kids at East Manjimup Primary! What an amazing space they have to play in - and delivered with an impressively minimalist price tag of just $2,600.
Location:East Manjimup Primary School, O'Connor St Manjimup, WA 6258 Australia
Year completed: 2015
Playground elements: Recycled tyres play areas, cubby building area, recycled timber fort, climbing wall, rope play area, stump circle outdoor classroom
Space designed for: Years 1 - 6
Total project cost: $2,600. Most items were donated or salvaged but about $1600 was spent on materials and $1000 on site-works and excavation. All labour was done in-house by school staff and parents.
Landscape designer: We got some ideas from Tracy Blascow at Kidsafe WA.The Deputy Principal did some research and visited some schools that had installed elements of nature play. We then chose which projects we wanted, contacted various organisations to access donated materials and then built each stage ourselves, one at a time.
How long did the space take to complete? It's been about 18 months so far but is still happening as we have lots more ideas.
Consultation undertaken: We consulted with staff, had a parent session after school, and publicised each stage, as was ready, in our newsletter.
Did you get a playground safety assessment done on completion? A normal, scheduled, playground audit was recently done on all our playground equipment including the nature play components.
Did you have any insurance issues? No
How does the rate of injury on your nature playground compare to your conventional playgrounds? We have had no injuries bar a few initial blisters from the rope climbing area.
Key benefits of this project: Students now have a range of challenging things to do at recess/lunch so they tend to spread out across the various areas; this has resulted in less behavioural issues at breaks. The equipment is designed to improve upper body/arm strength and balance; this has been identified by staff as a need for many students. We have also run an area workshop involving eight local schools on what nature play is and its benefits and many of these schools are also now planning nature play areas.
What were the keys to success for this project? Having the Deputy Principal being the main driver and organiser; having the gardener as an informed and enthusiastic part of the team; being able to beg, borrow (but not steal) most of the materials needed (tyres, wood and rope).
What do you think is the 'thing' the kids most enjoy about this space? The challenge and the fact that they can use it as they wish and make up their own games etc.
Playground manager: Gordon Roper, Deputy Principal East Manjimup Primary School, Phone (08)9771 1146, email firstname.lastname@example.org
East Manjimup Primary School Nature Playground Photo Gallery