Photo of Spirit of Play student, Fin, enjoying a surfing lesson

Nurturing positive behaviour and inspiring respect

Everything we do at Spirit of Play is about nurturing kids and adults. We do this by connecting with ourselves, with each other, with our community and with our environment. We believe that creative, caring, resilient kids will enjoy their present and be prepared for any kind of future.

Our play-based curriculum provides a holistic education that respects each child’s individual learning style and is strongly rooted in Denmark’s community and natural environment. Children are encouraged to explore their own physical, intellectual and emotional capabilities. They are challenged to set their own goals with their teachers. Spirit of Play Community School promotes a positive and supportive school community and provides an imaginative and aesthetic learning environment.

We support creative, connected and capable kids through our commitment to:

  • High staff to student ratio
  • Small class sizes
  • Multi-Aged grouping
  • Exceptional Staff
  • Indoor and Outdoor Learning

At Spirit of Play we focus on supporting children to develop the ability to be self-directed in their learning. This fosters inspiration and independence.

Through a curriculum, which is organised and flexible, children and adults together negotiate the learning experience. The word respect surfaces often as does consultation. We respect the child as a natural, active learner, who should be consulted throughout the on-going process of learning.

“Effective discipline depends on a loving, respectful relationship between adult and child.”
Siegel and Payne Bryson.

When I first came to Spirit of Play I was really taken by the caring and creative teachers and children. I could tell that they were fully alive, with their eyes and minds open and that they enjoyed being at school.
Oliver Watkins, Teacher, 2015.

See the articles below regarding the Spirit of Play approach to guiding behaviour, inspiring self-discipline, and respect.

Photo of Spirit of Play students exploring the outdoors on their library walk

Outdoor Education and the Walkabout Curriculum

Outdoor education is part of every day at Spirit of Play, as the children are engaged in their environment within and outside of the school grounds.

Years 1 to 6 each spend one day a week on Walkabout, an opportunity to integrate all the curriculum areas in a meaningful exploration of the local environment and visiting community organisations.

We explore the world and look for occasions and ways of giving back to the land, saying thank you and appreciating this beautiful country.

The children are encouraged to help those younger or less capable than themselves. We have sharing circles aimed at deepening the connections within the group and strengthening the children’s communication and their understanding of the occasions we share. The children have a walkabout diary that allows them to keep a record of what we did each week, reflect and share with each other what was good and what was hard. These books provide the basis for further explorations as we go to the library and internet to research any queries or anything that they have been inspired by out in the bush.

I believe free imaginative play and connection with nature in childhood plays a significant role in developing children’s sense of awareness and attentiveness. I feel privileged to work at Spirit of Play where I see these things being realised.

-Kanae Jones, Educational Assistant, 2015

Developing Independent Learners

“Go to the people, live among them start with what they KNOW.
And when the deed is done, the mission accomplished, of the best leaders the people will say,
we did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC.

At Spirit of Play we focus on supporting children to develop the ability to be self-directed in their learning.
By providing a more coherent, flexible and enriched natural curriculum, we are advocating children not as sole leaders of their learning but within an equilibrium where children and adults together negotiate the learning experience. This creates a space where children are listened to and encouraged to apply their own logic to any given situation, rather than us trying to impress upon them our adult intellect. The word respect surfaces often as does consultation, respect for the child as a natural, active learner who should be consulted throughout the ongoing process of learning.

Children need a connection to the learning and should be inspired, engaged and motivated by the process. Adults need to truly listen and respond to children. Children have opinions from an early age on and we as adults should pay credence to them since they enable us to provide a close match in provision.

We encourage children to take responsibility, because ownership increases their engagement and their confidence to communicate. We teach to the knowledge of the children and add strategies to document their learning.

Through Outdoor Education and our Walkabout program, learning occurs for both the adults and the children within the context of a real-life situation. The children are seen as both teachers and learners, collaborating with each other in their learning journeys. The teacher takes on the role of facilitator and observer, supporting and interpreting the experience, where needed, but allowing the environment to speak directly to each child’s imagination.

I love working with children. They have an amazing perspective of the world around them and always help me to see things in new ways. They are and will always be my teachers.
Oliver Watkins, Teacher, 2015.

Click here to learn more about our teachers and staff.

Photo of students sitting on a yarn mat paying attention to the teacher reading to them

Photo of Spirit of Play student playing outdoors

Roles and processes for guiding behaviour at our school

Teachers, supported by Education Assistants, are responsible for overall classroom management and discipline of individual children, using the guidelines outlined above.

Due to the nature of the school environment, it is important to note that the needs of the whole class group is of considerable importance. Therefore, at times, short and clear instructions, devoid of anger or judgement, may be given to individual students, after continuous disruption, to enable the learning needs of the whole group to be honoured and maintained.

Consequences will be relevant to the student and the situation. For example, if a child is constantly disrupting the learning of the other children, and they are taking away time from the other students, they will be required to ‘give back’ to the group in their own time. This may include:

  • Shadowing the teacher or education assistant, particularly for unsafe behaviour
  • Finishing required work before going out to play
  • Not participating in games, excursions or other activities

Teachers ensure that their classroom is calm and supportive and that the learning program is engaging for all students.

We believe that all behaviour indicates a need, or several needs. Questions a teacher will ask include:

  • What is the child / class trying to tell me with this behaviour?
  • Is the general feel of my class calm and conducive to learning?
  • Is the learning environment organised and free from clutter?
  • Do I ensure that the children are not being asked to ‘sit still and listen’ for long periods of time?
  • When I do require children to sit still and listen, do I ensure that it happens?
  • Do the students have the opportunity to be heard?
  • Are the students extended / supported as needed?
  • Do I make teaching and learning adjustments to suit individual children?
  • Have I developed Individual Education Plans for each student?
  • Are all staff members aware of the details of these plans?
  • Do we regularly meet with individual children to help them to challenge themselves and achieve their goals?
  • Do I have high expectations for student learning and behaviour?
  • Do I follow through on what I have said?
  • Do I regularly monitor the class and make adjustments to the learning program as needed?
  • Do we regularly discuss and review our class agreements?

Teachers and children work together to develop the class agreements, which are then displayed in the classroom and referred to regularly. Each learning space has a designated cool off space, to allow the children to calm down when they are managing big emotions. An adult will help the child to work through their emotions before returning to the group. Sometimes the child just needs some space and they are able to return to the group by themselves.

The classroom teacher of Year One and above works through lessons from the No Fault Classroom program, based on Non-Violent Communication. These lessons help to develop the social and emotional skills of the children and improve communication.

Children are never asked to leave the classroom for misbehaviour. As recommended by Mindful Awareness Parenting, we believe in ‘time in’ rather than ‘time out’ during times of distress. On some occasions, the teacher may decide that the child should spend some time in the other classroom to cool down. The student will take work with them and be accompanied by an Education Assistant.

If extra support is needed, the teacher asks the EA or two children to go to the cubby (office) to ask for help. The Principal or Admin Assistant will go to the classroom immediately upon request.

The cubby is a positive, safe place for the children. Some children require additional support and time in the cubby can help to develop positive connection with more adults at the school, helping them to feel emotionally safe. Only on very rare occasions after the teacher has made every attempt to connect and redirect, will the Principal be involved in consequences for behaviour.

Consequences for more severe misbehaviours such as hurting someone, leaving the school grounds or damaging property are at the discretion of the Principal. In such cases, parents / guardians will be required to meet with the Principal and a behaviour plan will be made before the child is allowed to return to the class.

We believe that by working together, we can help the children to feel more calm and connected and return to positive behaviour, which allows them and the other children to fully participate in learning.

Please note:

Parents are encouraged to speak with the Class Teacher if they have concerns about behaviour management or their child’s particular needs. If they continue to have concerns, they should speak with the Principal.

The teacher is always the one to make the decision to seek further support with behaviour management.

Detailed notes are kept by teachers regarding the behaviour of the children. The Principal will ask for these notes from time to time as part of the whole school positive behaviour program.

Parent involvement at our Community School

Spirit of Play Community School attracts parents and families who care deeply about the education of their children.

“I love the inclusion of family and community in the whole school”
Parent 2015

We believe in building a strong school community through family involvement. The talents, energy and knowledge of all school community members, are valued and incorporated.

Our School Council

The School Council is made up of an elected body of parents, who convene regularly as a committee, with delegates of School Staff, to make and implement decisions.

As with all independent schools, our Council is assigned with the governance of the school.

Areas of responsibility include:

  • Providing a forum for the involvement of the parent body in decision-making.
  • Overseeing the financial management, strategic planning and policy development of the school.
  • Direction of the school’s unique educational approach to the Australian curriculum.

Photo of Spirit of Play students learning outdoors

As a community school, we encourage all parents to have input into our program, and support the efforts of our Staff to create the best possible school life for our children.

This involvement may be through School Council, assistance in the classroom or on excursions, at Busy Bees or in organising School events.

Spirit of Play teachers helping prepare an outdoor meal

Photo of Spirit of Play parents sitting with their children by a tree

Many hands make light work, and family participation helps to weave together a stronger school community, and a deeper sense of belonging for parents and their children, alike.

I like the fact that everyone has a voice and feel that being involved as parent is important.”
Kindy Parent, 2015

Contact the School Office if you would like to be involved.

2021 School Fees

Due to the climate of economic uncertainty  we have introduced two discounted rates for Pensioner concession card holders (20% off Term fees) and Health Care Card holders (10% off Term fees).  Those families who are entitled to a discounted rate should present their cards to the office to receive a discount in 2020.We have also introduced differentiated levies for Stationary supplies and Excursions/Incursions to more accurately represent the costs incurred by each year group. Please note that discounts do not apply to levies.


3 full days (not compulsory attendance)

$525/term plus once off levies of $25 to cover Stationary and $20 to cover incursions and excursions.
Total of $2145 per year without discounts.


$679/term plus once off levies of  $45 to cover stationary and $50 to cover incursions and excursions.
Total of $2811 per year without discounts.

YEAR 3 and 4

$679/term plus once off levies of $75 to cover stationary and $100 to cover camps, incursions and excursions. An optional fee of $150 to cover surfing lessons in Term 1 may also apply.
Total of $2891 per year without surfing lessons or discounts.

YEAR 5 and 6

$679/term plus once off levies of $75 to cover stationary and $140 to cover camps, incursions and excursions. An optional fee of $150 to cover surfing lessons in Term 1 may also apply.
Total of $2931 per year without surfing lessons or discounts.

Discounts available for 2nd and 3rd child enrolled and for early payment

If you have a second child attending the school, 25% is deducted from the fee, with a 50% discount for a third child.

The school also offers a discount of 5% off the student term fee, where the student term fees are paid for the whole year, prior to the commencement of the school year.

Invoicing and payment arrangements

Fee invoices will be sent to parents in the second week of term and payment should be made by week 3 unless an alternative arrangement has been made. Payment can be paid to the office or by online banking. Centrepay can be arranged by request.

Bursary Relief

Families experiencing financial difficulty are asked to contact the School as soon as possible to discuss their options, as a limited number of special arrangements for reduced tuition fees are available for families in difficult financial circumstances.  This bursary relief will be negotiated on an individual basis and the outcomes of such discussions will be kept completely confidential.

Notice of withdrawal

Please note that one full term written notice is required if you intend to withdraw your child from the school or the next terms fees will be charged and payment required.

If you have any queries regarding fees or other matters of administration please contact us today.

Contact us today