By Kyra Gillespie
Cardinia Primary School has secured $200,000 through the State Government’s Inclusive Schools Fund, which they will put towards a Fitness Field and Musical Playground.
Aimed at bolstering accessibility and inclusivity within the school, the main feature of the playground is a musical bridge, which acts like a giant life-sized xylophone.
Among its many benefits, sensory play helps develop children’s visuospatial skills, stimulate the brain and manage stress.
The new equipment will be accessible to students of all abilities and needs.
“We have worked hard to provide playgrounds and equipment for physical play, fitness and sensory learning opportunities at our school. However, these are not currently meeting the needs of our student population,” Additional Needs and Wellbeing Coordinator Jodie Mattingley said.
“We have had a steady increase in the number of students with disability over recent years. This is due in part to the school’s long and successful history working with students with additional needs, including autism and social, emotional and behavioural issues.
“It’s anticipated this growth in students with disability will continue at our school; the fitness field and Musical Playground will be an accessible and inclusive playground and fitness facility, making it easy for everyone to use and play, and encourage all students to be more physically active.”
The project continues the vision of former school Principal Allan Armstrong of creating an open and inclusive school.
“Sadly, our principal of 28 years, Mr Allan Armstrong, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in January this year,” Ms Mattingley said.
“This project vision was Allan’s. Its creation will be viewed as a lasting and substantial legacy of Allan’s contribution to making Cardinia Primary inclusive and welcoming for all.
“It will represent an ongoing celebration of inclusion for the whole school community; Allan was passionate about inclusion for students with a disability and a lover of physical activity and sport.”
Construction of the musical playground and fitness field is anticipated to be completed by May 2019.