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Hobsonville School
Hobsonville School’s new fitness trail has unlimited creative potential.

Children are able to challenge themselves and build their confidence.

Hobsonville School were awarded funding from the Ministry of Education under the Schools Investment Package (SIP) to help develop wellbeing in schools after the first lockdown in 2020.

Brad Hill, Deputy Principal, says the dream was to build an all-ages fitness trail to provide another playground option for the students which would enable them to challenge themselves in a variety of ways. The design of the fitness trail means students can compete against each other side by side as they race through an obstacle course. Of course, there is always more to play equipment than just fun, children gain valuable skills from all the different activities. Learning to navigate risk and test their own limits is an important life skills.

Fellow schools provided recommendations for playground equipment providers and Brad sourced three quotes for the new fitness trail, but Park Supplies and Playgrounds were definitely the forerunner. Brad states,

hobsonville school
Not just for fun, these obstacles promote valuable life skills.

Jen had worked on their senior adventure playground years prior and was keen to service that playground and give it a tidy up at the same time. Brad was impressed by how much she valued the relationship with the school and the level of pride Jen has in her work.

Jen helped them think flexibly about the fitness trail and how it would work in the area it was planned for. They ended up designing it differently than first planned, opting for it to be twice as wide and half as long, which also helped to bring the quote down. As the surface wasn’t perfectly flat there was some land contouring required, Brad says the team navigated this well. The delivery and installation of the fitness trail was well-executed and professional, everyone on site followed the required health and safety measures and communicated effectively.

However, what had the most impact was the time the staff and students spent with Park Supplies Sales Representative and qualified Personal Trainer Mel Cowie. Mel held a ‘training session’ to demonstrate how to use the equipment properly and provide some insight and education around the added physical benefits of using the fitness trail. Brad said the session created lots of engagement and had a lot of positive impact.

“The fitness trail is actually a learning resource, not just a playground and Mel gave us some really cool strategies and ideas on how to use it effectively. The kids got into groups of three and found parts they liked, then made decisions together about how to navigate each part. Mel helped opened up our thinking and enabled us to see that there’s so much creative potential with it, it’s not just a paint by numbers piece of equipment. It’s interesting to watch creativity come to light as a diverse range of personalities each find unique ways of using it.”

hobsonville school
The design of the fitness trail enables the kids to race and compete againsts each other.

Brad’s advice for other schools looking to build a new playground is,

Really consider location and put it in the best possible place for your school, somewhere that is close in proximity to where the kids already gravitate to is essential to ensure it gets used. Another important consideration is to make sure the company you choose provides professional development and training for the teachers. We found this incredibly helpful in arming the teachers with the right knowledge and being able to encourage engagement out in the playground. Mel did a really good job at that, so much so that we wish we had more time with her.”

Brad also mentioned that the fact their fitness trail has tile matting means that it’s very soft underfoot, foolproof in terms of safety and enables the kids to be more creative and take bigger risks without the fear of being hurt if they fall.

When you ask Brad what the best part was about working with Park Supplies, he is quick to say,


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