Ballycarrickmaddy Primary School’s outdoor provision has been extensively developed through the addition of a soft area playground and outside sensory classroom.
The development of the £42,000 playground was eagerly watched by the children and the installation of the equipment was greeted with great excitement.
Speaking about the new school provisions Principal Mr Colin Ford said: “When questioned, all children expressed their surprise to the size of the playground being bigger than expected.
“The ‘Jukebox Jumping Jive’ encourages sliding, climbing, balance training, hand and foot coordination, role-play and social skills training.
“The brightly coloured ‘chimes’ enable the children to play popular nursery rhymes and songs and the ‘scribble boards’ encourage creativity and support the development of Literacy and Numeracy skills.”
“The installation of ‘toadstools’ facilitates the development of children’s role-play stimulation and this imaginary corner proves to be very popular with our children,” he added.
The outside sensory classroom was constructed following the school’s successful application for funding from the NGO Challenge Fund - revenue raised from the 5p plastic bag tax.
The school’s Eco Committee met with Mr Ford to discuss the design requirements for the sensory classroom and this information was relayed to parents who assisted with the development of this project.
It consists of a seated amphitheatre facing a large blackboard, a chicken coop, a variety of plants and shrubs, and a further area created to facilitate children working at tables, with wooden canopies to provide protection from the sun.
Both resources were opened on St Patrick’s Day by Primary five pupil Heidi Joss, as part of the school’s Super Learning Day, and an eco-friendly balloon release was organised to mark the special occasion.
Ballycarrickmaddy’s Primary one children won the opportunity to be the first to use the new playground having successfully achieved the school’s ‘Healthy Eating Trophy’, presented by The Belfast Giants.
The outdoor sensory classroom was first used by one of the school’s music groups – ‘The Canaries’ – following their success at the ‘Lisburn Choir of the Year’ competition, having been awarded a ‘Distinction’ for their performance. he Canaries enjoyed an outdoor party.