St Mary's Primary School's new playground had already been given the stamp of approval by its students, and now Kidsafe Australia has also granted its official seal of approval.
The Scone school is part of a line-up of 24 Australia-wide leaders selected by KidSafe Australia to be given an accolade in its National Playspace Design Awards, receiving a highly commended gong.
St Mary's playground's appeal lies in its use of natural elements such as a dry creek bed, mud kitchen, rock pit and yarning circle, as well as the inclusion of a re-purposed tractor, which fittingly reflects the agricultural history of the area.
In announcing the school' achievements, the Kidsafe judging panel noted, "this inviting outdoor learning area will be the basis for many learning opportunities and create wonderful childhood school memories."
Reflecting on the playground's recent upgrade school principal, Kim Wilson, said the space has transformed into an outdoor learning area where children can learn through play during school breaks and lesson time.
"The playground encourages children to spend more time outside where they can express their interests, capabilities and needs through imaginative play. The increase in self-determined play offers students chances to develop their collaborative thinking and conflict resolution skills as they discover, create, improvise, and imagine.
"The space also includes a performance stage with seating and a classroom environment. These new additions enable our students to be creative in their play. The playground has encouraged collaboration and communication skills in an innovative and inspiring environment."
The development of the new playground was a combined effort and included consultation with students, staff, parents and Kim Moroney, Education Officer- Early Learning at the Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Maitland- Newcastle.
"Our thorough consultation has allowed us to create a space that meets the needs of our whole community. We're very grateful to Hunter Fencing and Landscaping and Roberts and Roberts Construction for their hard work in making our vision a reality. Our huge thanks also extends to St Mary's P&F Association for their contribution of funds to enable the creation of our amazing new play space," Ms Wilson said.
To read more about St Mary's Primary School's playground, click here.