Outdoor learning at Our Lady of Victories

After five years of fundraising, Our Lady of Victories Primary School, Shortland, opened and blessed their new outdoor learning play spaces.

The morning assembly and liturgy was attended by Sonia Hornery, State Member for the Electorate of Wallsend, Fr Thomas, representing Fr Brady, parish priest of Wallsend-Shortland, Kylie Westaway, President of Our Lady of Victories Parents and Friends Association and Kim Moroney, Early Education Officer from the Catholic Schools Office.

The new spaces, which were blessed by Fr Thomas during the liturgy, include a sand pit, climbing walls, a shop front and a mud kitchen.

 “Since students started using the spaces I have seen students interacting around tables sharing ideas and listening to stories,” said Gerry Vandermaat, Principal of Our Lady of Victories.

“I have seen students testing their strength climbing up walls and role playing in the shop front and mud kitchen; I have seen students digging to the other side of the world using their creative minds to explore and present themselves on the stage – the opportunities are endless.”

“These are truly big wonderings and ponderings which require new eyes and new understandings all of which are represented in the playground reimaging here at Our Lady of Victories, Shortland,” said Kim Moroney

A number of fundraising efforts led by the school’s Parents and Friends Association over the last five years helped raise funds to put towards the upgraded playground facilities.

“Playgrounds enhance learning when they are designed purposefully and with intention,” said Gerry during the opening.

“Playgrounds enhance learning when they reflect what is familiar to the people occupying the space. This contributes to the notion of the environment as a living space for learning.

“Play spaces introduce novelty to provoke interest and invitation to explore and discover. They have the potential of providing joyful moments for students. This connects to more complex and abstract thinking and learning, thus successful outcomes for students in learning and wellbeing. 

“The result has provided the students of Our Lady of Victories a wonderful environment to explore their physical boundaries, understand their peers through their social interactions, solve problems cooperatively, and express their creativity and much, much more.”