The new yard creates courage, faith, hope and love

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The transformed schoolyard from School of the Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park.29 October 2020

There was an extra surprise for the students at School of the Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park, when they returned from remote learning to find a transformed schoolyard.

Earlier this year, two-thirds of the yard were closed to begin the work and most of the construction took place during lockdown. The landscape designer’s brief was to design spaces that resembled a story and reflected the natural environment, and to create connections with the buildings and structures already in place.

‘Last year, we asked our student leaders to come up with designs for how they’d like the yard to change and, apart from the swimming pool, we’ve been able to bring to life everything they suggested’, said the school’s principal Renae Gentile. ‘When the students returned, it was like someone had clicked their fingers and created a very special space for our students.’

As well as sandpits, climbing equipment, water pumps and a flying fox, the new yard includes a sensory labyrinth. ‘This is a beautiful calming space for our students, and it’s also becoming a space for teachers to take learning maths, religion, English and so much more outside into the fresh air’, said Renae.

Of course, not everything in the yard is new. The school’s friendship tree was retained as a focus in the design of the new yard, with new seating to ensure all students feel included and valued. Student leaders are currently working on names for each of the spaces based around the school’s values of courage, faith, hope and love.