Getting back to nature at Koonibba

A new, and already popular, Nature Play space was officially launched at Koonibba Child Parent Centre late last month after the school received a state government grant to create the area.

Koonibba Aboriginal School and Child Parent Centre principal Wade Branford said the $600,000 project would have huge benefits for the children of Koonibba.

“This allows the kids to get back to nature, to get back to natural play and use the environment around them to be creative,” he said.

“We are all about getting kids to be creative because we don’t want them to be parrots – we want them to be thinkers, to see something they want to do and talk to their mates to get it to happen.

“This takes away formalised structure and makes it entertaining.”

The new Nature Play space was already getting good use since it was opened last month.

“The kids have used it for the last five weeks and they have loved it,” Mr Branford said.

“There are lots of new plants and wildlife and the kids are being very respectful to the area.”

The new Nature Play space was 18 months in the making from getting the grant to the opening and about 80 were present at the official opening, including acting director of early childhood education Ksharmra Brandon who was the official dignitary to draw back the curtain.

Now enjoying the space, Koonibba’s students were also instrumental in its design.

“The children helped design the area,” Mr Branford said.

“We had a workshop where the kids designed areas they would like to see in the Nature Play space and they were worked into the overall design.”

Community members also created art murals to compliment the area.

Mr Branford said the space would sit alongside the existing playground area and would offer a creative alternative.

“We have doubled our play area, we removed structural concrete paths and a basic sandpit and turned it into a natural area where even the path we have now is made of varying surfaces,” he said.

“There is nothing like this in Koonibba, other than the actual bush.

“The kids will be able to get in touch with nature and use their creative side.”