Opportunities for play must be nurtured if children are to develop physically, emotionally and socially. While playground designs have recently become more complex, they do so against a background of increased community expectations of safer environments. Fortunately, research has shown that a substantial number of accidents can be prevented and the severity of injuries reduced if greater care is taken in the design, repair and maintenance of playgrounds. This can be achieved with little conflict between the goals of maximising constructive play and minimising injury.
These Guidelines are primarily written for principals, teachers and school council members. It is generally the responsibility of the building and grounds subcommittee of the school council, in consultation with the principal, to develop a school policy on school playgrounds. It is generally the task of the delegated school playground coordinator to be responsible for ongoing implementation.
While this information is written for all schools, the majority of students who actually play on play equipment are primary students.
The aim of these Guidelines is to improve students’ safety, while reinforcing that the primary objective of play equipment lies in its value for play and adventure. Schools are encouraged to assess the safety, quality and diversity of the recreation environment available to students. These Guidelines are intended to help schools set up a comprehensive system for the installation, maintenance, management and audit of play equipment and associated areas. Processes are provided for identifying risks and minimising playground injuries.