May 23, 2023

Rānui Primary School Play Packs

For many of us, thinking about our childhood brings back memories of play. It was spontaneous, imaginative, tamariki-led and fun. Play gave us the space and time to explore the world in our own way, fostering creativity, confidence, social skills and imagination.   

In today’s climate, factors like the changing face of the design of our neighbourhoods towards high-density homes, the increase in the use of cars alongside social media and technological advances, and the increasing cost of living mean that the playful upbringing we enjoyed as children is no longer as easy to take part in for many tamariki. 

To support West Auckland tamariki to continue their learning through play, packs with sports equipment were gifted to Rānui Primary School, giving tamariki a chance to explore play at home. The packs were delivered to the school in time for the summer break to encourage tamariki and their whānau to play outside during the warmer months.  

“It’s been three years since Aotearoa went into the first lockdown, but the impacts of those disruptions are still being felt. With multiple interruptions to the learning environment, we’ve noticed a decline in the fundamental play skills of our tamariki”, says Teressa Smith, Rānui Primary School Principal. 

Rānui Primary School is part of the Healthy Active Learning initiative and the Rānui Neighbourhood Play System.  “Our connection to the school meant that when funding came in, we were in a good position to support the school with their play journey” explains Christian Curtis, Healthy Active Learning Community Developer for Sport Waitākere.   

The play packs, which were modelled after parcels that went out to the community during lockdown, were filled with a range of gear fit for tamariki and their whānau, “play is universal, which means it can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or ability. Our objective was to supply whānau with the means to step outside and spend some quality time playing with their tamariki”, says Christian. 

As the foundation for physical activity, play allows tamariki to learn through movement, “play is intrinsically part of a child’s life and motivated by their wants and needs. It can help tamariki build confidence and communication skills and to take calculated risks in a fun and relaxed environment”, he continues. 

“We have noticed that when our tamariki have more opportunities to play, we see improvement in their social skills and imagination” adds Teressa. 

Funding for the packs was generously supplied by Foundation North.