Ballymacash Primary welcomes Welsh government visitors

Pictured (l-r) are: Ann Mulholland, Judith Allen, Lauren Belshaw, Laura Spence (Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn), Alan Herron (PlayBoard NI), Owain Lloyd (Deputy Director Childcare and Play Division, Welsh Government), Mary Nicholls (Senior Manager Childcare and Policy Team, Welsh Government) and Stephen Gray (Principal, Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn).
Pictured (l-r) are: Ann Mulholland, Judith Allen, Lauren Belshaw, Laura Spence (Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn), Alan Herron (PlayBoard NI), Owain Lloyd (Deputy Director Childcare and Play Division, Welsh Government), Mary Nicholls (Senior Manager Childcare and Policy Team, Welsh Government) and Stephen Gray (Principal, Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn).

Principal Stephen Gray and the Play working group at Ballymacash Primary School, Lisburn recently welcomed visitors from the Welsh government.

Officials were in Northern Ireland as part of a delegation attending the UK 4 Nation Play Symposium on 10th March, hosted by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Ballymacash Primary School pupils playing.

Ballymacash Primary School pupils playing.

Accompanying the Welsh government officials were representatives from PlayBoard, the lead agency for children’s play in Northern Ireland.

The Welsh officials were keen to find out more about the innovative approach towards play being adopted by the school, with the support of PlayBoard, both at break times and lunch times.

Following a tour of the school to see the wide range of outdoor, creative play experience on offer the visitors were given an overview of the schools work to enhance children’s play opportunities over the past 18 months.

This has included the school successfully securing funding from the Big Lottery Fund to develop and enhance their outdoor play space and work with PlayBoard to develop new approaches to encouraging and supporting quality play.

Ballymacash Primary School pupils playing.

Ballymacash Primary School pupils playing.

As part of the enhancement of the play space the school have installed a messy play kitchen, free standing chalk boards, set up chill out areas and offer a variety of play activities including large scale junk construction, shaving foam art, ice exploration and much more.

Speaking about the visit Stephen Gray, Principal at Ballymacash Primary School said: “We are delighted to have been able to welcome officials from the Welsh government to showcase the work we have been doing to enhance children’s play experiences whilst at school.”

Stephen explained: “The enhancement of the outdoor play space has been completed in conjunction with the children who have been involved the redesign of the playground area, offering their views on the types of play they would like to see.”

Speaking at the visit Alan Herron, PlayBoard’s Director of Service Delivery and Development said: “Ballymacash Primary School and its play working group have to be congratulated for their tireless work to promote play and encourage creative and innovative play opportunities for children of all ages.

“When officials from the Welsh government asked if they could visit an area of good practice as part of their attendance at the play symposium we immediately thought of Ballymacash Primary School who are at the forefront of play development in schools locally.”