Taikurrendi Children & Family Centre

Taikurrendi Children & Family Centre

Client Department for Education and Child Development (DECD)

Scope Concept design, documentation, tendering and contract administration

Location Christies Beach, SA

Collaborations Viesturs Cielens Design, Cath Cantlon, DPTI

Year 2012 - 2013

Awards Kidsafe National Playspace Awards 2014 - Highly Commended

The Taikurrendi Children & Family Centre was one of a series of 3 Centres providing early childhood development programs and services for Aboriginal children from the pre-natal phase to five years of age and their families. The Centres are a key strategy in COAG’s commitment to ‘Close the Gap’ in life outcomes for Aboriginal people and intend to be a positive strategy to address Aboriginal disadvantage from a number of perspectives.

Outerspace lead the project for the development of the concepts and documentation for the outdoor learning and community spaces for the Centres.

The following comments on the designs came from DECD management:

“… I along with my colleagues would all to congratulate all involved in the presentation and quality of the plans provided, they are of a very high standard and align closely with the departments Vision and Values Statement for Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments and the principles outlined in the draft design brief.”

A key success of the project is the consultation process model implemented not only within the design team but also users, the Education Department, Centre directors, Aboriginal elders, artists and builders.  This is important when addressing cultural issues and user needs and allowed the design of both the building and outdoor spaces to develop in tangent.

Because the outdoor learning spaces required specific design responses, little ‘off-shelf’ equipment has been used.  This meant careful planning and design to ensure play spaces met DECD and Kid Safe policy standards as well as Australian Standards.  An external play auditor was engaged throughout the key stages of the project including design and post implementation to ensure compliance.

Key elements of the play and cultural spaces included:

· Artworks developed in collaboration with local Aboriginal artists which extends throughout the building and landscape and reflects regionally significant dreamtime stories and bush tucker palette.
· Way-finding for visitors and provision of welcoming entry.
· Spaces for all visitors including passenger drop-off points, children and elderly family members including discrete sheltered waiting areas to allow for ‘yarning’.
· Provision of natural play and limited use of fixed equipment to encourage flexibility and imaginative play as well as the full range of physical activities.
· Scale, form and choice of materials and plants informed by preferred Indigenous lifestyles and to reflect Indigenous spirituality and culture.
· Provision of a cultural area incorporating a fire pit and small stage to allow for celebrations, ceremonies and events.

The Centre was opened in 2013.