Wakathuni, Northern Territory (Revisited)
- Original Project: June 2011
- Revisited: October 2011
The early learning center at Wakathuni is (relatively) close to Bellary Springs (Bower 12) so it has proven to be easy to revisit the facility whilst preparing for the following project with Gumala at Bellary. These visits have revealed that the early learning center was being well used by the community, the local school and by various groups with an interest in early childhood education programs.
Over the years Bower Studio staff have undertaken some small repairs to the project including the replacement of some of the decking members (evidently some teenagers dropped a large rock on the deck) and constructing a security screen over one of the windows. Despite these small repairs the building has proven to be particularly robust.
The hammocks we included in the design were particularly loved by the children and used as swings as well as a place to ‘chill out’. As they have worn out over the years the Gumala staff have continued to replace them to everyone’s appreciation. The green room (with the fake grass on the walls) has also been a great success as it provides a place for the kids to relax, read and learn. The staff describe this space as an ‘oasis’ in the community.
The project has been one of the most successful programs Bower Studio has participated towards. The award winning 3A program initiated by Professor Collette Tayler (Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne) and coordinated by Lyn Beckingham and Bromwyn Harworth (Gumala), has maintained ongoing relationships with the Tom Price School and with Joyce Cooke (Wakathuni elder). The program’s sustained success has been lauded as an example of best practice in learning/teaching within indigenous communities.