Our Kindergarten children at the Acacia Ridge Early Years Centre and Kindergarten were lucky enough to be able to take part in 'Playmakers'- artist in residence project this year. This project occurred every Monday over a 10-week period and was facilitated by three professional artist/educators Verena Curr, Sue Loveday and Thom Browning who specialise in working with children and their communities. Each week the children and their educators joined the artists in a creative workshop which will explore different ideas, art forms and creative experiences through playful approaches. At the end of the 10 weeks, the kindergarten community came together for an end of year celebration where the children had the opportunity to showcase their fantastic work to their families. 

Through this project the children explored the Queensland Kindergarten curriculum: wellbeing, identity, connectedness, communicating and active learning in playful and collaborative ways. Drama and mindfulness techniques were used to explore creative bodies and minds; visual art techniques to explore sculpture and art making as well as multi-media and technology to explore animation and ways of capturing our ideas. 

Children interacting with their art installations

Through these creative sessions the children had the opportunity to look at some bigger ideas around the essential ingredients of wellbeing and what they need to be safe, happy and doing well in life. This process builds awareness and gives the children the opportunity to share their own thoughts about what it means to them to be happy and healthy. 

We believe every child deserves the opportunity to nurture their creativity by experiencing different art forms in playful and engaging ways. We know from experience that creative projects like this can support wellbeing and build confidence & resilience; connect with community; grow awareness and allow children to share their creativity and ideas with the world.

Why Acacia Ridge?

  • Acacia Ridge is a low socio-economic area. The early childhood services and primary schools report a high number of vulnerable children. This is affirmed in Census data (2016):
  • 14.5% of the residents are unemployed. Only 35.9% worked 40 hours or more. The proportion of both parents not working in families was 27.1% compared to QLD average of 20%
  • The median weekly personal income for people aged 15 years and over was $498 (compared to average QLD at $660)
  • 46.5% of residents are renters compared to 34.2% (QLD average)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.4% of the population.

This data has been taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia (2016).
The early years programs in Acacia Ridge report that the children and their families come from diverse cultures, such as refugee families, with high vulnerabilities and needs. 
There is limited awareness of the importance of integrated support that responds to all six domains of wellbeing. The significance of It Takes 6 is even more pronounced given the hardship, housing stress and digital divide we are witnessing as a result of COVID-19. Playmakers Artist in Residence Project is a project created for The Benevolent Society Acacia Ridge and has been supported by the Every Child - It Takes 6 Campaign which advocates for every child to:

  1. Be loved and safe.
  2. Be healthy – mentally, emotionally and physically. 
  3. Be learning and/or earning.
  4. Participate in sport, recreation, arts and community life.
  5. Have secure housing and income.
  6. Have a positive sense of identity and connection to family, community and culture