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School School 18

New South Wales, Australia
Government Primary School and Primary School

School 18, visited in autumn 2009, is a co-ed government school in a large regional centre in New South Wales. The school is over one hundred years old, and connection between home, school and community is evident with multiple two and three generational families in attendance. It is a large, K-6 school with 33 teachers working with 720 students. Children with disabilities are integrated into the classrooms.

Teaching staff actively get involved in mediating disagreements between boys in the playground. Fieldworkers thought that, despite its large size, there was a 'country school' feel to School 18. The children seemed generally happy and well behaved. School uniform is worn with a loose interpretation and, in a departure from the norm at most schools, children were permitted to bring items from home.

Fieldworkers felt that this was a school which valued play. In interview, the acting principal discussed the importance play has in developing higher order thinking, a sense of community and relationships. The playground area is large, with a variety of surfaces and spaces and a large number of developing trees. One fieldworker described it as an area with a 'sense of hidden possibilities'.