The Lenswood Primary School community is celebrating their high commendation in the 2021 Resilient Australia Awards. This accolade recognises the school’s role in community recovery and wellbeing after the Cudlee Creek bushfires in late 2019, as well as the school’s creation of professional learning resources for educators following a traumatic event.
Over the past 18 months Lenswood Primary’s Principal Jess Moroney has been involved with Beyond Blue, Be You, and Emerging Minds to create resources for educators responding to a natural disaster. Jess has helped to organise national webinars and the development of an e-learning series, supporting knowledge and confidence in educators to support recovery in students of all ages.
This follows the school winning a $20,000 Wellbeing SA Strengthening Community Wellbeing After Bushfires grant in September.
The grant will contribute to the creation an outdoor ‘wellbeing hub’ encompassing a picnic space, bike track, rock wall and a performance platform. It will be a place for connection, not only for children and parents, but community members too. The hub will also be the home of the school’s new nature-based playground, which will be accessible to children of all abilities. Construction of the hub and playspace will begin early next year.
The grant application process involved consultation with families, children, staff and the wider community to identify what would aid recovery initially, and what would help the township into the future.
Jess says after the bushfires, a common mental health struggle for parents was the loss of connection due to the damage of many common recreational grounds such as Bushland Park and Fox Creek Mountain Bike Trails. He says the new wellbeing hub is important to ensure the school remains a welcoming environment for all.
“While the immediate impact of the fire has passed, we are still very much in the recovery phase. The compounding trauma of bushfire, the global pandemic and then challenging weather for our local growers has made the past few years difficult. However, one of the factors that can support recovery is connectedness with community.”
It’s important for high bushfire risk schools and preschools to be bushfire ready. Find out if your school or preschool is a high bushfire risk site.
The department’s emergency information hotline for school and preschool closures is: 1800 000 279.
The CFS emergency hotline is: 1800 362 361.