AS the second term begins at Waterfall College, an exciting new facility has been introduced — the media centre.School librarian and teacher, Claribel van Straaten, believes this intimate and engaging new educational space will become the heart of the school. Approaching the media centre, one is immediately put at ease as there are beanbags arranged outside, looking onto the sunny garden, with a wide selection of magazines and books of interest to teenagers. Van Straaten said: “I want to encourage our pupils to come before school and during break times, to read and relax, to browse.”“We have created a young adults section primarily for Grade 8 and 9, which has slightly easier books. Children who are weaker readers have a section as well, so it is their own choice to decide on the level of reading they want to explore. We have a great selection of books on sporting figures, crafts, history, cookery, gardening, birds, animals, fiction and non-fiction.”A small team of dedicated parents has been central to the establishment of the media centre. Starting from scratch, they have painted, drilled, sanded and decorated.Parents also helped with purchasing new books, making pupil cards, researching and sourcing an appropriate library data system, covering books and finally uploading all the books and cards onto the digital platform.“What a wonderful privilege to be part of such an exciting adventure for our pupils,” said Tracy Hardcastle, who has a son, Jonathan, in Grade 9. Nikki Waterston, mom of Grade 10 pupil Kyle, has spearheaded the project at Waterfall College. She explained why it was so important to her: “I’m incredibly excited about the new media centre and the potential it has, not only to encourage reading among the pupils, but to become the ‘information centre’ in the school and enhance the way in which learning is delivered, making it more exciting and personal.”The vision for the media centre is to be an accessible, fun and inviting place of learning, relaxing and interacting. A key part of the development is the technology aspect, bringing together the print and digital experience in one place. Waterston said: “I would love to see busy, interactive work stations together with safe, quiet spaces for reading and relaxing. I would love to see technology exhibitions and demonstrations, book readings, book signings, book discussions and book festivals. And children sitting on bean bags in the garden chatting and leafing through magazines …”Hardcastle added: “My vision is to have all our pupils reading. I want them to look forward to starting a book series and finishing it. “I want pupils who struggle to open a book to find freedom in our media centre and in our books. They need to experience the joy of finishing a good book like the feeling of saying goodbye to a good friend when the book is finished.”Waterston encouraged pupils to visit the media centre: “Come along to the centre, it is a space for you! There are stories that will make you laugh and stories that will make you cry, stories that will scare you, stories that will make you think and amazing true stories to inspire and encourage you. Whatever you prefer, fact or fiction, there are stories for everyone. Come along and give us your input and ideas.”She added: “Please remember, being a small school, we always welcome and greatly appreciate relevant book and resource donations. Thank you so very much for all the generous book donations we have received to date.”Jeanette van der Merwe, the principal of Waterfall College, is delighted at the launch of the new media centre.She said: “I am so grateful to the parents, staff and pupils who have helped in the creation of this very significant new hub of activity for our school.”— Supplied.