Sunnyhills School reinforces values through their new playground.
By early 2020 Sunnyhills School’s 25+ year old playground was in serious need of replacement. The school was frustrated with the raised bed, messy woodchip ground covering, and safety concerns were becoming apparent.
To demolish and replace the existing Sunnyhills playground would require a significant investment, so the school set a fundraising goal as one of their 2020 strategic objectives.
Thankfully, they were able to secure a School Improvement Project (SIP’s) grant through the Ministry of Education for property upgrades which would cover the cost of redeveloping the playground. This enabled the playground project to quickly get underway, and they could begin the process of bringing onboard a supplier.
Sunnyhills school had an existing relationship with Jenny Mullins from Park Supplies & Playgrounds, and they were also aware that Park Supplies & Playgrounds was a business partner of the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association (APPA).
Sunnyhills School principal Justine Driver was impressed with the APPA support.
When it came to the design of the new playground Sunnyhills had a unique idea. A student named Chloe had recently won a competition to be “Principal for a day” and one of the key tasks for her short tenure was to consult with the wider student body on the elements of the new playground and put together a design.
Jenny from Park Supplies & Playgrounds came in to meet with Chloe and show her all the options, together they came up with an ideas board which Chloe could take around all the classrooms.
The kids were extremely excited about the Orex Spinner. They loved the fact that you could get so many kids on it at once and climb up high. They chose elements such as the Mega Cube, Spiders Web and Overhead Ladder as climbing was key and it was very important that they could move from one space to another without touching the ground.
Important to Justine was the ability of the playground to re-iterate the Sunnyhills School values or GEMs as they are known which stand for Growth, Empathy, Mana and Self-Belief.
Jenny took the ideas and came back to Sunnyhills with a draft design. Justine and Chloe made some small change requests and then were presented with a final design plan. The final design included custom printing of the Sunnyhills GEMs along the side of the Mega Cube and a Shine Clubhouse sign which were unique features that really anchored the playground as part of the school.
Construction of the new playground begins.
The demolition of the existing playground commenced in the latter half of 2020 and the construction of the new playground was then ready to begin.
Justine was highly complementary of the Park Supplies & Playgrounds staff whilst on-site.
The structural elements of the playground were completed and then the finishing touches of new rubber matting, and a Nova Shade sail was added. The Playground was officially opened on Wednesday the 9th of December 2020 with a kapa haka performance and was blessed by a pastor to keep all who use the playground safe.
Sunnyhills School and the students are ecstatic with the finished new playground. It has fostered imaginative play within the school and the students are constantly creating new games around the different elements and school GEMs.
Student feedback on the new playground is positive and excited,
Justine enjoyed working with Jenny and the Park Supplies & Playgrounds team on the design and build of the new playground, she would happily work with them again and recommend their services to other schools.
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