Should school playgrounds be open for use during holidays?

We’re back into the routine of returning to school across the Gold Coast.

I don’t know about you, but in our house, this means coaxing sleepy children out of warm, soft pyjamas and dragging them through their morning routine while they complain “I’m cold” 25 times per minute.

It’s a lot of fun!


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Upon our return to school, I’ve been chatting with a few other school mums during drop off, and the topic of conversation turned to the idea of officially “opening” the school during school holidays.

“There is all of that play equipment just sitting there, unused,” one mum said. “Why not allow families to make good use of it out of term?”

My first thought was, “This is a great idea.”

There are only winners and no losers, right?

In actual fact, that probably not that case.

Firstly, I reckon the school’s equipment gets thrashed enough as it is. During four 10 or 11 week terms, it gets plenty of use, so adding another 10 weeks per year of activity could fast-track wear and tear.

It could end up costing the schools more to maintain – at my kids’ public school, we just approved a $50,000 playground revamp. How much more frequent would these upgrades become if the school were in use year-round?

We also need to take into account that our schools use holiday periods to do important upgrades, gardening and construction. They rely on these ‘kid-free’ periods to be able to get the big jobs done, without hundreds of little ones and parents interrupting their workflow during drop off and pick up.

I think this would also encourage people to loiter and explore the school when no one from the school is there to monitor and secure the school, which is an unnecessary risk.

For instance, older siblings of younger kids who are playing at the park with their parents, could head off on unsupervised adventures – which could lead to an increase in theft, graffiti and property damage.

Lastly: we have SO many public parks on the Gold Coast that I don’t think we’d ever need this.

Another reason why we’re so lucky to live on the Coast, am I right?

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Sabra Zloch

There are numerous state schools in Victoria that disagree with your opinion. Their play equipment and sports fields are open to the public during weekends and school holidays. They don’t experience unnecessary foul play/crime, or equipment falling into early retirement due to this choice. In fact their decision to allow neighbourhood families in, actually brings their school community closer together. And as an added bonus these visiting families keep friendly eyes around the campus while they’re normally vacant and at risk. It’s a shame many Qld schools haven’t followed suit.