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East Otago High School: “Flipping The Playground” project

Kirsty McLachlan —

At the beginning of 2020 the Year 7 & 8 department at East Otago High school were looking for an inquiry project for their students to complete when they noticed that one area of the school grounds could be improved on.

We looked at the space, took measurements and made a scale drawing of the area. We then came up with ideas to use of the space and make it look better. The next step was to survey Year 7-10 students for their favourite choices. Once that was done, we made decisions on what we would like and made a design.

We then sent out letters to local business to ask for support. We also presented our plans to the Senior Management at our school and wrote a letter to ask the Board of Trustees for permission to carry out our plan.

Unfortunately, lockdowns and Covid arrived so we were unable to go any further with our project except to make a giant jenga set with wood donated by our local sawmill, Hewvan.

2021 arrived and we decided to try again. We made more requests for help and worked on developing a “Secret Garden” reading area. We built insect boxes, tidied up the garden, built an arch and bought bean bags with donated money. A group of students designed and created a mural to make the area vibrant. We also bought outdoor games thanks to a donation from our local real estate agent, Leanne Black.

Lockdowns and a lack of funding continued to make completing things challenging but with support from our local Four Square shop we were able to get a grant from Foodstuffs that allowed us to order playground equipment from Australia. This arrived in December.

2022 saw us make massive progress with our vision as a local builder, Jeff Dennison put up the playground for us and we were able to make the area safe with wood chips donated by Hewvan.

After two years and six months our project was finally complete! To celebrate, and to thank all the people who helped us we officially opened the playground on 7th July with an afternoon tea made by us.

This project could not have been completed without the amazing support we received from our local community and businesses. Our property manager, Mr Gary Johnston supported us throughout the whole project.



The Opening: