School to build in­no­va­tive new eco-play­ground

North Shore Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KASHKA TUNSTALL

Birk­dale Pri­mary School is calling for sup­port to con­struct a new eco-friendly play­ground.

The school was forced to close off its old play­ground last year, af­ter new health and safety reg­u­la­tions deemed the struc­ture was no longer com­pli­ant.

Since then, the play­ground has been boarded up and the chil­dren have been forced to play in other ar­eas of the school.

Now, the school is work­ing with the Kaipatiki Lo­cal Board and chil­dren’s entertainer Suzy Cato to re­place the old with the new.

The group is de­sign­ing an ecofriendly play­ground, the first of its kind in the area, with mov­able pieces made from re­cy­cled and sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als.

Prin­ci­pal Adri­enne Mawer said the de­sign was per­fect for the school’s en­vi­ron­men­tally keen stu­dents.

‘‘Our kids are very hands on, they’re out­door kids’’ she said.

The stu­dents are giv­ing feed­back on what equip­ment they would like to use on the new play­ground. Re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als from the ex­ist­ing struc­ture will be part of the new build.

Birk­dale is cur­rently a sil­ver­rated en­rivoschool. Mawer is hop­ing the new play­ground plan will help upgrade the school’s sta­tus to GreenGold, the high­est rat­ing given.

‘‘We have to show that we’re sus­tain­able, the chil­dren are learn­ing about sus­tain­abil­ity and how im­por­tant that is in our lo­cal and world en­vi­ron­ment,’’ Mawer said.

The es­ti­mated cost for the ecoplay­ground de­sign is some­where be­tween $15,000 and $20,000.

The school is now go­ing out to the com­mu­nity to help fi­nance it.

Par­ent Kat Tobin, a mem­ber of the Friends of the School group, has been driv­ing the fundrais­ing ef­fort.

She was ex­cited about the unique pos­si­bil­i­ties of the ecoplay­ground and how the chil­dren would in­ter­act with it.

‘‘Our kids are very hands on, they're out­door kids’’ Adri­enne Mawer

‘‘The kids can move and con­struct with the dif­fer­ent pieces,’’ she said.

‘‘They’ll just use their imag­i­na­tion and turn it into dif­fer­ent things each day,’’ she said.

The lo­cal com­mu­nity is en­cour­aged to use the play­ground af­ter school and on the week­ends, fur­ther driv­ing the ur­gency of the re­build.

‘‘The kids need it. We need the play­ground back again and, more than any­thing, the com­mu­nity needs it back again,’’ Mawer said.

KASHKA TUNSTALL/STUFF

Kat Tobin and Adri­enne Mawer on the Birk­dale Pri­mary School play­ground which was closed off to stu­dents last year af­ter new health and safety rules came in.

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