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Apanui school kids receive Magic Play Box

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Apanui school students will be rediscovering the magic of play after starting their school year facing the impacts of a devastating fire that destroyed eight of their classrooms.

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On Thursday 1 April, the school received a Magic Play Box thanks to the combined efforts of play advocates from across the motu. A Magic Play Box contains a range of upcycled materials such as rope, pipes, wheels, crates and wood, designed to encourage children to explore their imagination through free and unstructured play.

Apanui School principal Simon Akroyd said the Magic Play Box was gifted to the school after its creators learned of February's fire, which left only a handful of learning resources available for the students.

“Through this whole experience, we’ve really felt the manaaki (support, generosity) from the community. The Magic Play Box will go some way to enabling play to resume at the school and encourage our tauira (students) to get inventive, challenge themselves and build confidence during play time,” Akroyd said.

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Over the past two years Apanui School, with the support of Longworth Education - a consultancy helping primary schools implement learning through play - has been committed to providing a setting where students can learn through play both in and out of the classroom.

Sport Bay of Plenty's Regional Play Systems Lead Steph Reichardt said play was an important part of young people’s development and she was thrilled to see local pupils being encouraged and given opportunities to play.

“Play is crucial to helping kids develop their motor skills and creativity, and accelerates their self-confidence as they navigate challenges and make decisions to solve problems.”

Reichardt said it was important that opportunities for free play continued to be available to today’s kids - particularly in an era where backyards are smaller, there is more traffic and there has been a gradual move to introduce more structured forms of physical activity at a younger age.

“Play allows kids to be kids and let their imaginations run wild as they have fun and get active while adults stand back.”

Funding for play

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Bay of Plenty organisations working with young people, including schools, can access funding to support play by applying for the Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa fund being administered by Sport Bay of Plenty.

Limited play funds remain in round one, so organisations are encouraged to apply with play projects before the funds run out. New funding will be available in the next financial year.

Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa funding

About Magic Play Box

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The Magic Play Box was created by Sport Waitākere and is being supported in the Bay of Plenty by Longworth Education – a consultancy helping primary schools implement learning through play. Several schools have already trialled the Magic Play Box, creating everything from swings to moveable carts.

More information about play

Activities for families

Activities for young children

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