Obstacle courses, swing, climbers, balancing bars, chess board, hurdles, colourful displays first capture the attention of those entering this government high school in Kulai.
Constrained by budgetary limitations perhaps, but leveraging on creative strengths, this government school has given itself a ‘Gaming Arcadia’ made out of waste, eco-friendly and recycled materials. Over 56 students and their government high school in Kulai in Mangaluru city are trendsetters in designing an outdoor play area.
“As it is, youngsters are consumed by technological toys and over a period of time, the students’ interest in sports like Kho-Kho, high-jump and other games has also weaned off. With the whole idea of re-establishing the gaming culture, we supported the idea of turning the play-areas into fun zones,” says Ravikala Shetty, former headmistress of Kulai government High School.
In close tandem with the school’s intentions, the school authorities were approached by Inchara foundation, a student volunteer group and Non-for-Profit organisation. The organisation was already working on ‘Model safe school’ initiative that mainly focused on improving various features of government schools.
The 896 sq ft playground, earlier covered by sand-beds, today boasts of the play equipment specifically designed to entice students to participate outdoors.
What a part of the school playground looked like earlier
What a part of the playground looks like now
"We had earlier developed a playground in government school at Angaragundi in the city. The idea was to revive the playground culture that not only brings out the talents and creativity in the young minds but also teaches them interpersonal and emotional skills while enhancing their physical endurance, hand-eye coordination, mental aptitude and self-esteem,” Executive Director of Inchara Foundation, Preetham Rodrigues, says.
The foundation along with student volunteers and alumni from other colleges, collect scrap materials such as tyres and use them to retrofit a school playground.
While adding excitement and challenges to the play-environment, the coordination team says that they are very particular about keeping the safety aspect.
“Most of the games are over sandy areas, besides, the height of the play stations are kept minimal to reduce the impact of the fall. At strategic points, the tyres have been punctured to avoid water retention. We also have scheduled safety-checks twice a year,” the principal says.
While the playground at Angaragundi was inaugurated in November last year, the Kulai school project was inaugurated in March this year. Speaking to this reporter, Rathna, a primary student of Kulai government school, says that she is very keen with the new facility. “Not only does this play area help us to enjoy, but we also learnt something about waste recycling,” she adds.
Ravikala Shetty, who was part of the project since its initiation, says that the students are very pleased with this project.
“The team decorated the playground and made it look like a park. We got good comments from the parents, localities and the students,” she says, adding that she hopes more government schools adopt this model and turn playgrounds into exciting play areas while prioritizing safety.
Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)