Corpus Christi Primary opens new playground

Research shows that the first eight years of a child’s life are when he or she achieves the most important learning. In response to this research and as part of the vision of the Catholic Schools Office for Early Learning, Corpus Christi Primary School, Waratah, has opened its new Dominic Courtyard.

Helping to nurture not just the academic side but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of a student, the new courtyard at Corpus Christi will enable students to build resilience, engage in problem solving and learn how to interact with others.

The new playground will give students the chance to develop their physical and social skills and build a respect for nature and sustainability - while also allowing them to grow their imaginations and creativity.

Assistant Director, Tony Kelly, and Early Learning Education Officer, Kim Moroney, along with the Dominican Sisters, attended the ceremony to open the new playground.

“The classroom is no longer just four walls and a ceiling,” said Religious Education Co-ordinator and Lead Teacher of Early Learning at Corpus Christi, Matthew Perkins.

“It is an absolute joy to witness children playing in this space and I hope that current and future students make many happy memories here.”

Following a liturgy presided over by Fr Stephen Hill, the children finally had the chance to play in their new space.

Given that students learn at different rates, times and in different ways, the design of the engaging outdoor environment provides areas that allow for various types of play. These areas flow together naturally so children can move from one to another at will.

The design of the courtyard also enables teachers to interact with students in a different way. Instead of telling students to ‘be careful’ or ‘that’s dangerous’, teachers are encouraged instead to say things like ‘take your time’, ‘do you feel safe?’ and I’m here if you need me.’ This type of communication will help students learn the necessary skills to measure and manage risk.

In the playground students will be able to undertake self-determined play during recess and lunch, as they engage in their own decision-making processes about how, where and what to play. The space also provides the opportunity for teachers to take advantage of the school’s play-based curriculum and allows them to plan creative and open-ended learning activities.

“Among other wonderful teachings of the Dominican Tradition, I am reminded that, 'We must sow the seed, not hoard it',” said Principal of Corpus Christi, Julie Mulhearn.

“This courtyard and our school are testimony to many people sharing their vision and sowing the ground, so that the seeds of learning might be ignited in our students.”