You don't need a huge budget to create an amazing nature play space. East Manjimup Primary School created a wonderful new space, and delivered it with an impressively minimalist price tag of just $2,600.
East Manjimup Primary School, O'Connor Street, Manjimup, Western Australia
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.
The school 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. They then chose which elements they wanted, contacted various organisations to source donated materials and then built each stage themselves, one at a time.
Time to Complete Project
18 months to complete the initial plan, but more ideas have arisen as part of the process, so the space continues to be added to.
The school consulted with staff, had a parent session after school, and publicised each stage, as was ready, in their newsletter.
Safety Assessment and Insurance
A regular, scheduled, playground audit was done on all playground equipment including the nature play components. No additional insurance was required.
The school reports no injuries, bar a few initial blisters from the rope climbing area.
Key Project Benefits
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.
The school has 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.
Keys for Success
- 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).
Most Enjoyable Element of the Space
The challenge and the fact that the students can use it as they wish and make up their own games.
Gordon Roper, Deputy Principal East Manjimup Primary School, Phone (08) 9771 1146, email firstname.lastname@example.org