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June 22, 2024 2:25 AM

Sparking imaginations of students

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Two new spaces at St Catherine’s Catholic College are giving the minds of students a little time for creative play and just a bit of fun.

The school’s library has a space rarely found inside the home of books thanks to funding from Hunter Valley Operations.

Library teacher Jae Clarke said she wanted to create a space where students could relax, unwind and have some fun and the end result is proving popular.

The space, complete with bean bags, giant jenga and other games sits in a corner of the library and students can visit during class breaks.

“It is a space where they can get away from everyday life, mental health is a big issue with young people and this new space has created a peaceful atmosphere and is visually appealing,” she told The Hunter River Times.

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“We hope it is a space where they can get rid of the stresses of life and the students have already welcomed the opportunity,” Ms Clarke said.

“It has been very popular during the breaks, the students come and just sit on the bean bags and chat or engage in the games and the parents have appreciated the initiative as well,” she said.

In addition to the inside space, a new playground area outside also encourages a bit of mind relief and imaginary play.

Dubbed the fairy garden, the space is delineated by a white picket fence with access via a little bridge across a rock bed that leads through to the fairy garden door.

Library assistant Gina Kollner said junior students have been keenly watching the space develop and are looking forward to diving into the fancy dress box to add to the fun when the work is complete.

Nearby is the new mud kitchen and play tables and car tracks that encourage students in interact through play.

Mrs Kollner feared the fairy garden project may have been delayed due to Covid but was pleased the work could go ahead.

She thanked all those who participated in the program of works.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Dunn, Thomas, Slater, and Palmer families as well as my own for assisting with the work and changes,” she said.

“AJ Owen Company is responsible for the synthetic turf currently being laid; this job will take another few weekends as it is tedious and must be done precisely.

“My sincere thanks go to Mr Pat Sharkey who hand-made the fairy garden and personally installed it during the break. I am impatiently waiting for it to be finished so that we can have our first play in the area.

“My appreciation and thanks to this great team for their tireless effort in getting the projects to this point and the work that will follow in the coming weeks,” she said.

It appears, for some at the school, that these current school holidays will continue to require continued effort.

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