An offhand remark by a teacher to a group of girls swinging off a structural support that they should instead organise an appropriate alternative has set in motion a chain of events that may well establish an ongoing legacy of student-driven investment at The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School.
Nicole Boaden may not have realised that planting the idea in the heads of this particular group of year 6 girls -- Sahri, Elly, Matilda and Adele -- would give it legs. They have now formulated a grand plan for an initial playground installation featuring a wobbly bridge, a spider net and hamster wheel, plus of course the high crossbar that started it all.
And it's all their own initiative.
They've even negotiated the site, an under-utilised corner of the school oval that allows room for future project-drivers to expand the playground installation down the oval fence.
Of course there are many challenges ahead but they have principal Anna Starcevic's support, and the project is evolving into a great learning exercise.
The girls have weekly update meetings to structure their plans, research equipment and how it fits in with Education Department policy, formulate a fundraising program including grant applications, and even recruit from year 5 for their replacements. Appreciating this is a long-term project and knowing they'll be graduating onto high school at the end of this year, the girls are keen to leave their 'baby' in capable hands.
On the fundraising agenda are school socials, and market stalls both onsite and in front of Coles selling homebaked goods along with drinks and raffles. They're also looking at the logistics of a Billie G's Gourmet Cookie Dough school fundraiser, doing the budget to take all costs into account.
Other initiatives are a family movie night at Tenterfield Cinema, and a tea towel project that allows families to order their child's face, handprint and words to be printed onto tea towels along with the school emblem.
For the social and other projects the girls have opted to go with a blue theme, to reflect how they hope to chase away blue feelings in the playground by giving students more opportunity to be active.
They've already researched the advantages of getting kids outside (to support their grant applications), which includes not only better physical and mental health but also higher self-esteem and self-discipline, better cooperation and more creativity, and better performance in school.