21 January 2016
Standing the test of time: A haven for children in crisis
Cholmondeley Children’s Centre has operated in Governors Bay, Canterbury for the last 90 years. It provides short-term, emergency and planned respite care to children whose families are experiencing distress or crisis.
When faced with rebuilding after the earthquakes, Cholmondeley took a researched approach to the design of its new centre.
“We now know physical spaces can either greatly support or impede a child’s sense of wellbeing and their ability to learn, so we wanted to create an environment where you could actually see Cholmondeley’s Vision and Philosophy of Care manifest using a vastly different design approach.” says Shane Murdoch, CEO.”
These manifestations of Cholmondeley’s Vision: Value Our Children, are easy to note in the new building: benches, windows, and door handles built at heights appropriate for young people respect children’s practical needs, while reading nooks and breakout spaces acknowledge their right to privacy. Warm, bright colours and soft furnishings provide a feeling of friendliness and safety; and a huge Eucalyptus log and sandpit complete with babbling water feature cater to the essential childhood experience of fun.
Cholmondeley’s practice model is backed by substantial research, and the team believe their work is leading the way in providing holistic short-term respite care for children.
“At Cholmondeley we don’t school in the traditional sense”, says Integrated Services Manager, Edwina Poynton, “but take an integrated approach to developing the NZ Curriculum Key Competencies through adventure-based and experiential learning activities.”
The children create Learning Stories, which record their successes and can be shared with their friends, family, and school. This reflects Cholmondeley’s belief that no child can thrive in isolation.
“Cholmondeley is part of a collaborative and preventative approach that spans across child, whānau, community, agency and government spheres,” says Murdoch, “we all have a role to play in improving outcomes for our children.”
Can you Help a Child in Crisis? Becoming a regular monthly giver is the most direct, practical, and simple way you can contribute. Please go to www.cholmondeley.org.nz to learn how or call Cholmondeley today 329 9832.