As the drawbridge to their new castle playhouse opened and closed, many "wows" were shouted out by excited Sunset Primary School junior pupils.
The castle playhouse, created as part of the New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge, was delivered to the school yesterday.
Nick Matthews, Certified Builders Association South Island business development manager, who also looked after Industry Training Association Building, said the Apprentice Challenge each year involved a different project.
He said they looked for expressions of interest in the projects from early childcare groups and schools.
A local staff member with NZCB, Victor Storey, put forward Sunset Primary School's name.
The apprentices had eight hours to build the playhouse castles, with five days allowed beforehand for preparation and research.
Matthews said it felt fantastic to deliver it to the school. "It's great to be able to give back to communities.
"Hopefully it inspires children to one day think about trades. There are lots of budding apprentices in this room, I would say."
Early last year, Sunset Primary School began exploring the concept and philosophy around play-based learning and how it would enhance opportunities for students to develop oral communication.
They started by setting up their classrooms with play-stations catering for experimentation in a range of contexts.
By term two, 2017, the play had spilled out into the playground and was being embraced across the school.
The new model gave them a mix of play-based learning and teachers workshopping with groups of students learning reading, writing and maths.
The junior school staff said once the system was in place, they just had to step back and let the children do what they did naturally - play.
The first year they saw a 71 per cent increase in language development of their most at-risk students.
"This year we have been delighted to be the recipients of a donated play castle built by the trainee apprentices at New Zealand Certified Builders Association.
"To celebrate the arrival of the play castle we held a dress-up day with a kings and queens, knights and dragons theme.
"We would like to acknowledge the generosity of NZCBA in supporting us in the work we are doing to raise the achievement of our students.
Sunset Primary School pupil Bryson Smith, 6, said the castle was going to be fun and when he first saw it he thought it looked cool.
Haylee Coles, 6, said the castle was going to be great to play with, and was bigger inside than she thought.