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Child's play .. Otama School pupils, children from the Otama community and pupils from Funshine Early Learning Centre try out the new playground at Otama School. PHOTO: ASHLEIGH MARTIN

Otama School is enjoying having a new playground, which is not only for its pupils but also the community.

Otama School principal Sam Smith, who has been at the school since the start of this year, said the school had been fundraising for a new playground well before he started.

“The school is a big part of the Otama community. We’ve got the hall, we’ve got the church and we’ve got the school and we wanted people to go past the school and see the playground and see there was exciting stuff going on for the kids there,” Mr Smith said.

The school celebrated by having a fun day and barbecue courtesy of Riversdale Meats.

The old playground was taken down earlier in the year and Mr Smith said the pupils needed a new playground.

“We needed to make it challenging because we go up to year 8, so we didn’t want it to be something where it was thought of as a junior playground or something like that.

“After we got the final design the board of trustees approved everything and they turned up the first week of this term and within two days it was up – it was amazing.”

The playground had been a big success for the school and he hoped it would get a buzz going in the community.

“Because our youngest pupil is 6 and the oldest is 13, it’s really good because they help each other. They’re exploring it in different ways and they find new ways to challenge themselves as well and make up new games.”

Equipment the new playground featured included a slide, repelling wall and monkey bars.

“The kids are loving it and they’re on it all the time.”

Otama School board of trustees and PTA member Rowena McBain said the school had held a range of fundraisers for the new playground and businesses and families had also donated time and materials, such as for the edging around the area.

“It’s probably come from years of other fundraising as well, because we’ve always had a really good PTA who just fundraise for what is required for the school,”Mrs McBain said.

“It’s really good for the kids – it’s an important part of their social development to have somewhere where they can play and make friends.”

Mrs McBain said the new playground was also good for the community, as it it could be used by anyone, not just school pupils.