Newbury Primary School expands play activity with NZCT support

NZCT has awarded Newbury Primary School $20,000 towards the cost of a sandpit, swing set, and water play equipment.

School Principal Chris Symon says -

We are building a vibrant play space to enhance the learning experiences and overall wellbeing of our students of all ages, including members of the community. Our goal is to create a space that caters for the needs of all learners, whether they are transitioning into school at five, fostering friendships, supporting sensory needs, or building collaborative skills.

We currently have a small sandpit, but need a larger play area for the community’s kids. Expanding the playground is a priority because our school is experiencing steady roll growth. The current sandpit is also used by whanau visiting the school pool or town hall, so there is significant demand.

We have chosen the play equipment with inclusivity and variety in mind. Sandpits are good for tactile, imaginative play; swings help develop balance through core muscles; water play improves fine motor skills and is a soothing, enriching activity.

Scooping sand, pushing your legs to swing, and pouring and measuring water are all beneficial and fun activities for kids. As a school we want this for our students and locals. We expect it to be used by children of all ages and become a hotspot in our area.

Supporting our learners

We have many reasons why the playground additions will support our learners -

Sand and water play provide unique sensory experiences that stimulate children's tactile senses, helping them develop fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination. By engaging in these activities, our students will enhance their sensory perception and gain a deeper understanding of the physical properties of materials.

The sandpit and water play area provide a blank canvas for imaginative play. Through building sandcastles, creating landscapes, and experimenting with water flow, our students can engage in imaginative storytelling, role-playing, and problem-solving. This fosters creativity, critical thinking, and social-emotional development.

We aim for this play area to promote cooperative play and peer interaction. By engaging in shared experiences, children learn to communicate, negotiate, and collaborate effectively. They develop social skills, empathy, and respect for others' ideas, which will strengthen their peer relationships and teamwork abilities.

Incredibly proud

We are incredibly proud of our students for taking the initiative to fundraise for the basket swings addition. A small group of learners has been investigating the possibility of playground upgrades in their learning for a while now, including researching, cost analysis, writing letters, contacting suppliers, and creating designs. By organising and participating in fundraising activities, they have demonstrated exceptional leadership, responsibility, and community spirit.

They have also used the school’s laser cutter to make bookmarks and keychains to sell at local Ag days and markets. Their passion has created other fundraising efforts from our students through our Parent Group. The addition of basket swings will offer an inclusive play element that caters to the diverse needs and interests of our students. These swings promote inclusive play, cooperative interaction, and further enhance their physical fitness.

Almost 150 years old

Newbury School is almost 150 years old and will have 180 students enrolled by the end of the year. The Newbury Hall is right next to our school, so the sandpit, swings and water play equipment will be used by many children in the community. We also open our pool to locals during the summer, which will bring even more children an opportunity to enjoy and connect with our play space.

While our students, school Board, and parent group have all worked extremely hard on this project, it wouldn’t be possible without the support of NZCT.

Photo Credit Manawatū Heritage and Newbury School