Child as Citizen from Birth

Co-ordinator: Jan Millikan

The educational project in the city of Reggio Emilia Northern Italy has challenged educators all over the world to consider children as citizens with rights from birth.

Children not only are our future but also our present. Not only a citizen of the future, but a citizen from the very first moments of life and also the most important citizen because he/she brings the ‘possible’,

The image we hold of the young child, and childhood, and the knowledge we now have about how children learn, strongly supported by the research from neuroscience, leads us to ask the questions of: what kind of educator and what kind of school, including the physical environment, for what kind of child?

This theme will provoke an image of the child as capable and competent and with many resources at their disposal to construct and co-construct their own learning. It will consider the co-construction of a vision for learning and teaching environments for children in the non-compulsory years of schooling, from birth to 6 years of age. 

Taikurrendi Children and Family Centre (at Christies Beach Primary School)

“na marni meyunna” (welcome everyone)

Taikurrendi means ‘mixed together’ and the centre has been developed bringing together education authorities and the Indigenous Early Childhood Development National Partnership to provide education, health and family services with a particular focus on supporting Aboriginal families with young children to give them the best possible start in life.

The Taikurrendi vision is to provide services that nurture, celebrate and reinforce their culture and support the development of cultural identity. Developed over three years, the project included critical consultation with the Aboriginal community to be the guiding voice in all aspects of the centre, including site location, cultural elements of building design and embedding Aboriginal perspectives into the early childhood education environment.

 On the site visit you will hear the story of how Taikurrendi was planned and built to reflect the rich history and the present connectedness of Aboriginal people. How the interior and exterior spaces of Taikurrendi are designed and organised in interconnected forms that foster interaction, autonomy, explorations, curiosity, and communication, and are offered as places for children and for adults to research and live together. And, how Aboriginal culture and Reggio Emilia philosophy align with the understanding that the environment is not simply a background of (or for) the learning process of the children, but a fundamental protagonist. Knowing that the purposefulness of organising a space means organising a metaphor for knowledge, of our image (of ourselves), of how we know and how we learn.

 Ingle Farm Children’s Centre

The challenge was to create a new Children’s Centre in a former secondary school technology studies building.

A collaborative approach between architect and educator was adopted to develop the brief and design based on current research about educational architecture and early childhood pedagogy. Principles from the Reggio Emilia approach were a key influence on the design.

The design retained a portion of the existing structure and skylights were utilised to flood all areas of the south facing site with natural daylight. Some external walls were removed to create a large covered outdoor space which provides visual and physical links between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The sloping site provided an opportunity to create dynamic outdoor play and learning spaces, and the landscaping incorporates colour, aroma, texture, level change and water management. The visit will explore the process undertaken to turn a large industrial building into a series of spaces which supports education and care programs for children aged 2-5 years.

This page last updated: Tuesday 13 May 2014