Playground ‘inspirational’

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Ready to play . . . Grants Braes Kindergarten children (from left) Brax Te Huna (4), Phoebe Sherriff (4) and Xavier Ryan (4) test out the new jungle gym during Friday's opening. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

As the sun shone, Grants Braes Kindergarten’s children sang, danced and ate cake to celebrate the opening of their new playground last Friday.

The new playground features sandpits, slides, swings, a pirate tree hut and jungle gyms for the 40 children at the kindergarten to enjoy.

New paths have also been added throughout the playground for the children to ride their bikes along.

Grants Braes Kindergarten head teacher Penny McCormack is thrilled with the new playground.

“It’s far more than I ever envisioned for the kindergarten – it’s really inspirational,” she said.

The celebrations began with a karakia from Louise McKenzie, the grandmother of one of the children.

The karakia was followed by a waiata from the children and the cutting of a cake.

It took five years to raise the $25,000 required to rebuild the playground and Mrs McCormack said it had been a “big community effort”.

“There have been so many cheese rolls, wheel-athons and raffles from the parents and the community – it’s just been amazing,” she said.

The kindergarten also received two $4000 grants, from the Lion Foundation Trust and the Otago Community Trust.

It took six months for parent Donny Thurston to design and build the playground, with the support of teachers and the community.

“If we hadn’t had Donny, this playground just never would have happened,” Mrs McCormack said.

Before the rebuild, the playground was on a slope, which Mr Thurston levelled out for the new playground.

The teachers and children wore pink during the celebration to support the Pink Shirt Day movement to stop bullying and spread kindness.