Can we/the kids play Soccer? 

Yes of course, there will be all types of games played in our space. But instead of having one oval dominated by a single ball game, which reduces the use of the space by other students, we are looking at having a range of spaces that cater for several different uses. It might not be the exact requirements for a club game, but kids adapt and utilise what they have. Just as important as open sports fields are the in-between spaces; small enclosures, bushes and edges that support their needs for unstructured play or just a place for kids to ‘be’ whilst they reset in their lunch break.

Why can’t we just returf the oval?

Water, primarily, and play. We love water! In Canberra’s climate of extreme temperatures of 40 to -8, with an average rainfall of 600ml, pouring thousands of dollars worth of drinking water onto a field just isn’t sustainable. We are thinking smart about water catchment & storage, and as little watering as possible. Based on the best evidence about how kids play, a single large sports field just doesn’t add up. PBDG are experts in designing for smart water use, and pride themselves in delivering Naturescapes, educating children in nature and bringing life to the land with natural, water-harvested landscaping. The Ngunawal people have specific cultural knowledge of living in this climate over the extremes for the last 40,000+ years, and have an abiding connection to Country and understanding of the interconnectedness of people and nature in this place. We are bringing all this expertise together to create a water-smart, environmentally regenerative space that supports kids mental, emotional and physical needs as they learn and grow.

Who chose the consultants, and who’s paying?

The P&C have partnered closely with the school so far. We assessed all local Canberra Landscape Architects with previous experience in playgrounds, and water-sensitive urban design (WSUD). We shortlisted four companies that seemed suitable and interviewed them, and two were asked to tender. Meeting an extensive list of prerequisites, including community consultation, water management, and establishing long-term relationships, PBDG was a clear winner. 

We also identified a clear need for local cultural knowledge in this project. Adam Shipp of Yurbay has worked with the school on small projects in the past, and partners with Uncle Tyronne Bell of Thunderstone, a Ngunawal elder with extensive experience in education, as well as working on Country. They able to offer a unique combination of cultural knowledge, experience working in schools delivering educational programs, and experience with large landscaping projects.

By exploring Caring for Country perspectives, we are better able to appreciate our responsibilities to and for the place where we live and learn, which mirrors perfectly many of the learner profile attributes we seek to embody as an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.

We submitted a project outline and funding proposal to the Education Directorate, who were impressed with the thorough background work and money already to put forth from our end ($50K each from P&C and the NAPS school budget), that they have agreed to pay for the design process, and provide a project manager to handle the contract requirements.

How do I have a say? Who chooses the final design?

We are following a process of co-design, where everyone has a say, and we work together to develop the design that suits our needs. The Landscape Architects and Cultural Consultants are our partners and guides on this journey, but ultimately the whole school community will outline our needs, and shape the final design. To make sure we are able to support all the needs of our diverse community (including the Introductory English Centre, the Learning Support Unit, and all our students) we are building on the students’ use of sharing circles in class. Uncle Tyronne will guide us in using yarning circles as a method of building consensus and making decisions that are right for us all. The students (supported by their teachers) will be at the centre of the process, as they are experts in their own play, and the group who will use the space the most. This ensures that the design suits their needs, and adds to the learning opportunities within the process.

Parents, staff, and community members will have a number of opportunities to get involved throughout the process too. Keep an eye on our website for events and workshop dates.

How can I help?

First, check out our Inspiration and Research page. To get the best outcomes, we all need to broaden our understanding of what’s possible.

Next, talk with your kids. Listen to what they tell you about how they need to spend their time.

Come along to our workshops and other events, or tune in during our live-streams. We need to hear from everyone, so the design works for everyone.

Finally, if you are able to contribute to the costs or construction, you can come to a range of working bees next year, or donate to our Senior Oval fund below. Please note we are not a DGR charity, and your donation won’t be tax-deductible.