Gaga Ball at Ivanhoe East Primary School

Ivanhoe East Primary students having fun playing with a ball in a Gaga pit

Interview with Ivanhoe East Primary School

Please tell us a little about your School?

We are a school of around 480 students in inner Melbourne. We first experienced gaga ball at our grade 4 and 5 camps and the students campaigned the school council for their own. We listened!

Children playing with a ball inside a new Gaga pit
A group of children running and playing inside a Gaga pit
A playful scene of children running and laughing inside a Gaga pit

In your experience and time in the industry, has child’s play at school changed much or at all?

Yes, play has changed over the 20 years I have been in schools. I see that students love when something new comes into the yard and also a structured game helps in the yard more so than ever before.

Please tell us how important play is in a child’s day in terms of development, growth and learning?

Fantastic, I have seen in the short time the pit has been in the yard how well the older students have taken on the rules of the game and are teaching the younger students how to play. We have a system in place where our captains take charge of raking the pit and keep the pit in order throughout recess and lunch.

What do you feel are the biggest rewards of energetic and rules-based play?

Students working together – playing by the rules – learning how to take turns – learning that when you are out it's not the end of the world.

A Gaga pit surrounded by a group of kids, with a bunch of boys playing with a ball inside it

You provided a great space for the Gaga pit to be installed in, how was the space being used before?

The space wasn’t being used other than kids just hanging around on the edge of the oval.

Out and about on the playground what has been the most interesting or surprising element of the Gaga Ball Pit that you have seen or heard about?

Most interesting would be the junior kids – preps and grade 1's playing the game and playing it well. They have picked it up in no time and they know which days they are allowed to use it.

Also watching them know when they are out and staying out, it's great.

We are interested to know what the feedback from teachers, students and parents has been.

Parents have loved it as much as the kids.

Classes are using it as a reward game currently and PE uses it as warm up for some classes. Parents and families are using it on the weekends as well which is awesome to hear and see!

What has been your favourite part so far?

Seeing all students being included and learning from each other.


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