• Social

Environment Planning Group

This is a group of parents and teachers who are working towards the re-design of our school’s outdoor play and learning environment. During 2013 they researched playgrounds around the world and consulted with parents, children and the community to find out what currently works and what needs to be improved.

AZ 4During this consultation process the group discovered UK based Director and Founder of Opal (Outdoor Play and learning), Michael Follet. Michael worked with the EPG remotely from the UK and donated his time and expertise. You can learn more about Opal and Michael here.

The group’s vision is to provide children with a stimulating natural outdoor environment that offers open-ended areas and resources; so children can learn through play, exploration and discovery. You can read more about Paparangi School’s Outside Play policy here.

Term 4 2013 the EPG introduced the Adventure Zone (Bottom Field). The Adventure Zone is inspired by international Natural Playscape Designer, Rusty Keeler’s Hands-on-nature Anarchy Zone.

You can learn more about Rusty Keeler’s Anarchy Zone concept here.

The Adventure Zone is an area where children are given an opportunity to engage in free and unstructured outdoor play! The play equipment is low cost, and uses recycled loose materials. Our Adventure Zone has Tyres, planks, cable reels, pallets, manuka sticks and a wonderful manuka t-pee. The learning for the children is endless and priceless!! It maybe the first time they have ever experienced a play environment of its kind. The Adventure Zone gives our children the opportunities to:

• develop physical confidence – children becoming aware of their physical capabilities
• use their imagination, be creative and expressive
• play cooperatively and be able to negotiate with other children (of all ages)
• problem solveAZ 1
• be active and have a healthy body
• But the most important skill/experience is learning to take a risk, grow confidence in taking a risk and managing it which results in accomplishing new skills.

The Adventure Zone is just one aspect of an overarching plan.

The play spaces concept plan can be viewed at the following link EPG Consultation Plan

Kindy Path 1In addition to the Adventure Zone the EPG, Board of Trustees and their dedicated parent helpers have been busy bringing this plan to fruition. First up, the ad hoc path between the junior school quad and the adjacent kindergarten was formalised. In addition to resetting the step and liming the path, decorative concrete circles made by the students of Room 3 were used to create a border.

Next was a “fort” in the forest. The EPG had been fortunate in securing an old stage from a local Placemakers store. With some handy carpentry work from our parents we soon had a highly sought after castle come spy base come jail come pirate ship… Fort 1 - Copy

The Board of Trustees decided that it was time to replace our aging goal posts on our top field. Once again the EPG stepped up to the mark, organising construction of the posts courtesy of one of our parents who had just started his own engineering business and then a couple of working bees to remove the old posts (much hilarity was had with the post hole digger) and then the installation of the new combination soccer/rugby goal posts.
Goalposts 1 - Copy

Most recently the EPG have begun the refurbishment of our senior school play area. The retaining wall has been reset and reinforced (this also provides an excellent seating arrangement for the children when the sun is shining). Safety bark has been replaced up to the accepted best practice standard to ensure the students are safe in the event of a fall.

Climbing Wall closeAfter a couple of working bees the tireless members of the EPG have finished construction of the new climbing wall!

UPDATE It was recently announced that the EPG had been successful in a grant application for completion of the senior area. The funds will be used to lay new grass and provide several hexagonal tables. This will further utilise the available space as an extended lunch area as well as outdoor classroom.

If you are interested in joining this group email them on paparangiEPG@gmail.com, check them out on Facebook or contact the school office for details of when the EPG will be next meeting.