Notes from Kate, the project leader:
Last year I was fortunate enough to go to a Nature play presentation at another local school and this was presented by Tracey Blazskow from Kidsafe WA. She really got me thinking about how boring our colourful plastic and steel existing equipment was. The booklet that we received on the day gave me a great start with ideas. After speaking to my Principal she gave me the go ahead to start sourcing some equipment for our playground.
Our first addition to the playground was the large log. We affectionately call it the leaping lizard because of its shape. I discovered the log when driving to Mount Barker. It had recently been cut down on a school parent’s property because it was a danger to the roof if it ever fell. We are lucky enough to have parents who own and run the local plant hire business and they were generous enough to come along with their truck with a crane on it and pick it up and transport it to the school. I then called a local business and asked if they could donate some sand to put under and around the log. They were quite happy to transport it but I had to contact the local farmer who sold them the sand. He was happy to donate it. Then we asked a tyre business if we could have some tyres. Really easy to get tyres because it costs the businesses to get rid of them. Then we had a busy bee to shovel the sand into and around the tyres. Fabulous parents once again.
One of our fantastic teacher’s has a lovely husband who made 2 large lockable boxes for us to put equipment such as pots and pans and dress ups in. These cost only $90
A friend of mine sourced some hub caps and smooth large river stones which my daughter and I painted to look like fairy stones and flowers.
I then convinced my poor long-suffering husband that we needed a tepee at the school so he went and cut down sticks and one weekend we went to the school and built one. My parents are avid garage salers in Albany and they managed to get a huge piece of marine rope for just $15 (It’s long enough to go around the school oval). A local builder built us some tyre drums and tyre herb garden beds and my Dad made a large weaving frame out of old fence posts.
A local fertiliser company donated some cable reels and once again I stole my daughter’s paints and we painted fruit and vegetables on them. I happened to mention to one of my husband’s friends that we might have a boat for the school (that was sourced by an amazing teacher from the Denmark recycling tip shop) and he said he had one on his property that wasn’t being used and he would prefer it to go to the school instead of it rotting at his place. Once again our amazing parents came to the rescue with their truck and crane and they transported it to the school. We had a small busy bee and this was sanded back and painted with marine varnish. The varnish cost approximately $180.00.
As the children were now allowed to build cubbies in the bush in Term 2 and Term 3 (not 1 and 2 because of snakes) I thought that if I called a local sawmill they might be prepared to donate some wood for the children to use in Term 1 and 4 and of course terms 2 and 3. We had an amazing response from them and they very kindly donated $700 worth of pine planks. I was feeling like the biggest scab in the world at this stage. As the children might get small splinters from the edges of the planks we asked Mitre 10 and Bunnings if they could donate some gardening gloves. We managed to get 40 pairs of various sizes and many children have bought their own along. My own parents once again came to the rescue with many tarps and sheets from garage sales now a fabulous addition to the cubby builders.
Our own stove at home decided to stop working so we donated that to the school and with a large reel from the shire that has been the beginning of our mud kitchen. A fantastic Education Assistant who works at the school managed to get a sink, microwave and another small oven donated from a local tip and I’m just waiting on my husband to complete the frame and bench for them to be used in the kitchen.
As you can see we have had an amazing response when it comes to donations of time and equipment. The lockable boxes cost $90. The wood for the tyre herb gardens and the tyre drums cost approximately $120. So with the marine varnish we have spent approximately $390 to date.
-Kate, Project Leader