Cockatoo Primary School VIC - A Cubby House Village for All Ages

Cockatoo Primary School VIC - A Cubby House Village for All Ages

Posted by Castle and Cubby on

Principal, Darrelyn Boucher, dreamt of a cubby house village

Darrelyn Boucher had a dream. Darrelyn, the Principal of Cockatoo Primary School, had seen a Cubby at another school and realised what a beautiful part it could play in sparking the imagination of the children of her school. She imagined a cluster of cubbies in which children could let their imagination roam free.

Then Darrelyn connected with Castle and Cubby, and the dream became real!

Cockatoo Primary school shapes their learning-space with cubby houses.

Cockatoo Primary School’s row of cubby houses was constructed during the recent holidays, ready for the students as the new semester began. Built along the fence line that fronts the main road they were immediately eye catching, a banner of colour that make a bold statement about the school and what it offers the children. They immediately attracted interest in the local community, which has embraced this new feature of the local landscape.

The cubby houses are laid out like a shopping strip, with nine small businesses or services and two mud kitchens offering a ton of variety. The children can visit in the burger bar, serve the customers in Cockatoo Post Office number 2, cook at the mud kitchen, or let their imagination run free in any of the other community-linked cubby ‘businesses’.

How Cockatoo Primary School Transformed an Empty Cubby house into a Creative Hub.

When they were first installed, Darrelyn and her teachers considered waiting until they had stocked the cubbies with props and toys before opening them to the children. They quickly decided to see what would happen if they left them empty.

It was a great decision. It freed the students’ imagination to invent their own props or play creatively without them. For example, some children decided they should have a tattoo parlour. They ‘re-purposed’ one of the shops and created a catalogue of imitation tattoos from tissue paper which they decorated with tattoo-style drawings as the product from their new ‘tattoo parlour’. Now that ‘props’ are left to the students’ imagination, the only ‘real’ artefacts in the cubby houses are the brooms and brushes need to keep them clean.

How Cockatoo Primary School Students Responded to the Cubby House Village

The colourful cubbies are a magnet for students of all ages. The students flock to them at every opportunity, parents stay after the school day to let their children play for longer and they are visited by children of the community at the weekend. Teachers steal a few minutes of class time to reward the students for working well, knowing that these few minutes will also be productive for the development of the children.

Although she hoped for it, Darrelyn is still mesmerised by the level of engagement shown by the students. It’s gratifying to see that her dream of creating a setting that would liberate imagination and individual creativity is now a dynamic part of her school. The play of the children in the cubby spaces provides them with opportunities to experiment with new behaviours, express their emerging creativity and let imagination roam free. “It’s the best money I ever spent!” said Darrelyn.

As Darrelyn Boucher might write:
You can think about stripes, every colour and hue,
We have them on show as you pass Cockatoo.
We’ve our own tiny village, a world for the small,
If you fit, you can play in our cubby strip mall.
In the world of our cubbies, you can tell any tale,
Invent and imagine, in smallest detail.
We can choose what to do and choose what to see,
But the best thing of all, we can choose who to be.
At Cockatoo Primary I hope you have seen,
We’re happily living our principal’s dream.
As we play and imagine, I am sure that you know,
That the Cockatoo Cubbies are helping brains grow!



Peruse our Villages catalogue below and reach out to discuss setting your kids up for successful transitions and a world of imagination!

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