Getting our kids outdoors

Australian Primary School Playgrounds: Monuments to Misunderstanding?

This paper explores the partnership between Play for Life and Australian teachers on their journey of creating more playful schools and richer play environments for kids.

Abstract:  In the eyes of the international community, the image of Australia is perhaps one of the “Lucky Country” where Aussie kids are afforded ample play opportunities in its wide, open spaces and natural settings.
Australian school playgrounds have historically played a central role in the makeup of community spaces that children utilise for their own play. However, like many OECD countries, Australia is currently experiencing a decline in free outdoor play. For some children, the school playground may be their only opportunity in the day to access free, self-directed play. This is occurring in a climate where an increasing number of Australian primary schools are
finding playtime “breaks” problematic, requiring support from staff who are not necessarily

• Marylou Verberne, Founder and CEO, Play for Life (
• Caroline Burston, Assistant Principal, Noble Park Primary School (
• Karen Nicholls, Principal, Coolaroo South Primary School (
• Sue Vissenjoux, Leading Teacher, Noble Park Primary School (
• Visual presentation by Lorraine Carli, Leading Teacher, Coolaroo South Primary School