Architecture and childhood development : towards establishing architectural design guidelines for children's environments in South Africa.
Cloete, Magdalena Catharina.
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The research in terms of Architecture and Childhood Development is based on an understanding that Architecture serves society and has the potential to impact positively on children. The research is grounded in a postmodern theoretical enquiry, and the primary purpose of architecture is established as the process of creating places for people to dwell. The concern with childhood development and more specifically Early Childhood Development relates to the universally recognised potential of changing society through early intervention and provision of quality childhood development. The research relates to the principles of The UN Convention of The Rights of The Child, and aims to initiate the transformation of the architectural design of spaces for children, to achieve a positive impact on childhood development for children in South Africa. The research problem is defined in terms of the concept of the built environment and how it impacts on childhood development, seldom considered in the provision of Early Childhood Development in South Africa. The key question is: How can architectural design provide nurturing and stimulating environments that influence the care, education and development of children between the ages of 0-6 in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa? The research methodology includes a literature review, policy analysis and collective case study. The literature review examines the theoretical framework of phenomenology and perceptual theory, as well as concepts of placemaking, dwelling, child development theories, and educational studies relating to children’s spaces. The key concepts of Responsiveness, the Third Teacher and Community are established. The methodology of The Pattern Language and design guidelines from the UK and Australia are investigated to assist the understanding of these concepts translated into architecture. The policy analysis reviews the Rights of The Child, as well as ECD implementation both universally and in South Africa. The case study highlights the methods of translating the theoretical concepts of Responsiveness, Third Teacher and Community within the Kwa-Zulu Natal context as implemented by architects. The research concludes with a framework for the design guideline for children’s environments in South Africa.