Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Former Minister for Education

    New name matches fresh facilities and culture

    1/06/2012 12:00 AM
    • South-West school praised for innovative playground at school naming ceremony
    • State Government ramps up new school playgrounds program

    Education Minister Liz Constable officially named Maidens Park Primary School and opened the school’s new administration building in Bunbury today. 


    Dr Constable said Maidens Park Primary School, formerly Withers Primary School, was named after Maidens Reserve, a local natural bushland, which plays a large part in the school’s nature play program.


    “This name change is part of the school’s acknowledgment of the importance of outdoor play in the natural environment in children’s learning,” she said.


    “Maidens Park Primary School has been embraced by the community, and the facilities have had a major modernisation. The new name is the final step in the school’s rejuvenation.”


    The State Government’s election commitment to build a new $1.6million administration block has been fulfilled.


    The school has also re-designed traditional play areas so students can climb trees and rocks safely, make cubbies in forest areas, plant native trees and dig in sand.


    “The nature-inspired play area is the envy of schools in the South-West and I’m extremely pleased the school is getting children back into nature while building their motor skills, self-esteem, creativity and independence,” the Minister said.


    More Western Australian public schools will also have the chance to design and install exciting playgrounds to inspire children to be active during recess and lunch.


    While at Maidens Park Primary School, Dr Constable announced the State Government would spend an additional $4million on school playgrounds for schools in disadvantaged areas over the next four years.  Added to funding provided last year, schools will now have access to $2million over the next year.


    “This funding follows $1million which was spent in 2011-12 on new playgrounds and equipment for 50 public schools across Western Australia,” she said.


    “This month schools can apply for funding of up to $20,000 each to revitalise play spaces.”


    The Minister said this Government’s playground program highlighted the benefits of outdoor play for children. Schools were free to use the funding to design nature-based play areas or provide shade structures if they desired.


    “It is so important for children to experience play outdoors and in nature - it helps with their motor skills, mood and some evidence suggests it boosts students’ learning,” Dr Constable said.


    “These days many children are spending a lot of time indoors doing screen-based activities and I want to see our schools become exciting places for children to get active, play and exercise.”


          Fact File

    • Public school students in years 1 to 10 must spend at least two hours each week doing physical activity during the school day as part of student learning programs. This is in addition to play during lunch and recess breaks.  Schools are also encouraged to provide opportunities for students to be physically active at other times
    • The majority of children reported participating in more than two hours of screen-based recreation on one or more days of the previous week. *WA Child & Adolescent Physical Activity & Nutrition (CAPANS) Survey 2008
    • 39% of primary school boys and 73% of primary school girls in Western Australia don’t do enough physical activity to meet recommended guidelines*
    • WA Budget statements are available at http://ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au 

    Minister’s office - 6552 5700