Gloucester Pre-School's new natural outdoor learning environment

Elizabeth Price helps student Kyiesha Oestmann cut the ribbon alongside fellow student Spence Haschek. Photo Anne Keen
Elizabeth Price helps student Kyiesha Oestmann cut the ribbon alongside fellow student Spence Haschek. Photo Anne Keen

After 18 months, the wait is finally over.

Gloucester Pre-school students were finally allowed into their new playground after spending many hours looking longingly over the fence.

The officially opening brought together current and past students, as well as current and past committee presidents, some of whom use to be students themselves.

Among those invited to the event on Thursday, May 24, were all the inter-agencies in the community whose work has an impact on families, parents and grandparents as well as representatives from AGL.

The new natural outdoor learning environment is stage one of the project that was partly funded by AGL’s Gloucester Independent Community Legacy Fund.

Additional funds for the playground portion of the overall project came from MidCoast Council’s Stronger Community Grants.

With the final tick of approval coming through from council the week before the opening, the preschoolers were able to give the area a test run in small groups, but now that the official opening has been held, it’s open for them to enjoy.

Preschool director, Elizabeth Price said research shows that children need an outdoor learning area.

“They need a place to explore and take risks,” she explained. “It better prepares them for school.

“It teaches them how to take on challenges in the learning process, by trying things and failing.”

Stage two of the preschool’s project involves a new building housing two more classrooms that will welcome up to 33 new preschoolers aged from birth to three years, employing up to 14 new staff.

The wheels were set in motion three years ago when the preschool purchased land adjacent to the back portion of the existing property. 

Since then the plans have been modified a few times due to unforeseen issues, like underground sewage pipes on the new property meaning the new building needed to be relocated. The playground was built on the new land and the classroom will go where the existing playground is.

At this stage the project is awaiting council approval but the school hopes to see it come to fruition soon.