A new era of outdoor learning

As a school built ‘among the trees’ back in 1974, St James’ Primary School, Kotara South continues to encourage students to learn outdoors with the official opening of Stage One of the masterplan for new outdoor play spaces at the school.

The official opening was held during Catholic Schools Week and was conducted by Gerard Mowbray, Acting Director of Schools; Matthew Hingston, St James P&F President; St James’ School Captains, Grace Worland and Jacob Dempsey and Parish Priest Fr Terry.

Prior to construction of the new space, outdoor settings at St James already offered support to students with growing needs through a sensory garden, a bush tucker garden, an aquaponics garden and a vast range of raised garden beds in the Green Team area.

Through the support of the school’s P&F and various fundraising activities around $42,000 was raised in 2018 to help bring the masterplan to fruition.

The first stage includes a play deck in front of the school sports shed, a creative play levelled stage area with sandstone blocks, a new dry creek bed featuring the school values totems and a tee pee/mud kitchen play space.

These spaces will allow St James’ students to engage in self-determined play and collaborative thinking as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. The new spaces support environmental sustainability while reflecting the culture and history of the school.

“Because the school was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, we are committed to demonstrating our core values of respect, courage, service, justice, compassion and hospitality to everyone we encounter,” said Lucy Harvey, Principal of St James.

 She added that the day provided the opportunity to celebrate the Catholic school community - a community of parents, students, staff and parish working together to make St James’ the great school it is today.

“The playground is a welcoming space which reflects and enriches the lives and identities of children, families and staff,” said Kim Moroney, Education Officer for Early Learning at the Catholic Schools Office.

 “It’s vibrant and flexible and it’s responsive to the interests and capabilities of the student. These new spaces invite students to play and discover and to contribute ideas, interests and questions.”

Ms Moroney congratulated the St James’ school community for creating a beautiful environment with the children at its centre.

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