New school playground delights
St Joseph’s School, Waitara, is a state-integrated Catholic school with 60 students ranging from Year 1 through to Year 8. Ensuring their students have a safe space for active and creative outdoor play became essential for the school after their old playground was removed in 2022.
“A playground inspector found the wood underneath the old playground had rotted and deemed it unsafe. So, the playground was roped off immediately and removed pretty quickly after that. The children were left with nothing to play on for more than a year, while we fundraised,” said Rachael Gibbons, Principal.
“Fundraising is always hard and takes time. Not having a playground for that long was a big challenge; the children went from having something they used every day to absolutely nothing for a significant amount of time.”
Funding of $30k from Toi Foundation helped St Joseph’s School to build a vibrant, modern playground that the whole community now enjoys. Fr. Brian Carmine officially blessed the playground at its opening in June 2023, and it has been well-used ever since.
“It’s always full of kids before school, after school, in playtime and on weekends. There’s a lovely variety of equipment there now and the kids love it,” said Rachael.
“Playgrounds are a social thing in a community, so our playground is well used outside school hours, by people that don’t go to this school as well. It’s a real community asset. We’re trying to promote children being outside in the fresh air, rather than gaming, and being active and creative. The playground is definitely benefitting everyone in that regard.”