Playground for fun and learning

Liam Croy
Kindergarten teacher Hollie Armstrong with students from Yanchep Primary School in their nature playground. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Every lunchtime at school term, thousands of kids across Perth migrate from the classroom to the playground to blow off steam.

But what if you could combine the importance of playing with the importance of learning? Yanchep Beach Primary School, an independent public school which opened last year, is doing just that.

It is one of many public schools that could earn $10,000 as part of the Education Department's Our School's a Star program.

Principal Matt Jarman said the school worked closely with an architect and the Education Department to design their nature playground - one of WA's first.

Features included a nature track, a jetty, plenty of native fauna and an oval the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"We all understand that play spaces like the Rio Tinto Naturescape at Kings Park stimulate problem solving, imagination and conversation much more than a traditional playground," Mr Jarman said.

"This area was flat sand. It was going to be a large, sterile open space and the sea breeze was going to rip it apart every day. It's something we're really quite proud of."

Mr Jarman said the nature playground could enhance the teaching of any classroom subject, from physical education to maths.

The jetty, for example, could be used to hone motor skills or demonstrate the principles of weight displacement.

"It's been designed to create different play and work spaces, and it's really only limited to the creativity of the teacher," he said.

Visit www.ourschoolsastar.com .