New playground helps Geraldton students regulate energy, emotions

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Jack Raffan, 6, tests the swing.
Camera IconJack Raffan, 6, tests the swing. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Geraldton Guardian

Some Geraldton students will be swinging and climbing their way to success thanks to a new sensory playground.

Waggrakine Primary School received a $9200 grant from children’s charity Variety Midwest to purchase the playground, which features interchangeable pieces of equipment such as swings, climbing frames and punching bags.

Deputy principal Mandi Ostaszewskyj said the playground was accessible to all students, but was specifically designed to help children manage their emotions, energy and behaviour.

“The play equipment is to help with either self-regulation or some of the other programs that we run, like social skills and communication skills and life skills,” she said. “Having just under 500 students, it’s great we can have a piece of equipment which can be utilised by all.”

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Waggrakine Primary School student Riddick Hutchinson, 9, in front of the new sensory playground.
Camera IconWaggrakine Primary School student Riddick Hutchinson, 9, in front of the new sensory playground. Credit: Phoebe Pin

Ms Ostaszewskyj said equipment could be added or removed from the playground depending on the specific needs of different students.

“Some students need, from a sensory point of view, different things to be able to support them with self-regulation,” she said. “Whether it’s that they are pulling, they are pushing or they are lifting themselves ... we are able to have those interchanging pieces of equipment to support those different needs.”

Variety Midwest regional co-ordinator Jan Ajduk said children “have such busy lives” and the charity was proud to back projects improving youth wellbeing.

“Variety likes to be a part of making a difference in their lives and giving them skills to learn how to self-regulate,” she said.

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