Majura Primary on track with grand plan

Coralie McAlister - Principal Majura Primary

You may have noticed that the space around Majura Primary School has been undergoing something of a radical makeover in recent months. Of the five zones identified in the master plan it is the front and Irvine Street sections which have received the most attention.

Principal Coralie McAlister says the new native plantings were designed as a natural extension of Mt Majura. “We had a planting day when 90 people came down to do the front garden,” she says. The bike racks have also been moved to the front, while a simple competition was held to design the gates as functional public artworks.

“Why just have any gate, we asked – why not have a creative gate?” says Coralie. The children now put in their bikes through the flower gate (paid for by the P&C) and take them out through the mountain gate. “When the gates were put in, members of the community passing by really started to understand what we were trying to do.”

Community and connectedness are words which come up often. This is not surprising given that the master plan is the result of extensive consultation with the wider community and the unusually high level of parental involvement at Majura Primary.

Sam - a student at Majura Primary

The ten chooks in the environment courtyard are a particular favourite with the kids. The kids love them,” Coralie says. “They have a meaningful reason to collect their food scraps and to recycle.” The eggs produced are sold each Wednesday morning, but you have to be quick – demand far outstrips supply.

Work on the vegetable garden is also underway. A dedicated group of compost kids’ and energy savers’ lead the effort. A $140,000 grant from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program will fund new kitchen and dining areas, as well as a gardening teacher’ to help the kids run the veggie patches. All food will be grown, prepared and consumed on-site.

But the piece de resistance of recent developments must surely be the high-quality German-manufactured playground equipment. “We used to have about 30 kids playing in that area when I first arrived – we have about 120 kids on this playground now,” Coralie reports. “When I watch them, they’re fully engaged; it’s an absolute delight to see.”

The program of upgrades is by no means over, but Coralie is hopeful that the master plan will be fully implemented within the next 18 months. More than $2 million from the federal government’s economic stimulus plan will certainly come in handy to finish the job.

Reprinted from the Watzon Winter 2009 Newsletter

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