New Parent Space opens on the City campus

28 July 2015

Young woman with her daughter playing with a puzzle
Zoe James with her daughter Citrine at Parent Space

University of Auckland students who have children under the age of 16 are invited to access a new Parent Space on the City campus.

As highlighted in the Equity Policy, the University is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and equitable place for everyone who studies and works here. This commitment extends to our students who are parents.

Managed by Campus Life, the new Parent Space in Old Choral Hall is a secure (swipe-card controlled) venue featuring a computer, phone and desk, as well as a kitchenette with a fridge, and a cache of new toys, books and activities for children. It is one of a number of Parent and Breastfeeding spaces across the campuses.

Zoe James is a 2nd year Māori Studies/Sociology student and mum to almost-four-year-old Citrine. Zoe has high praise for the new Parent Space, which she says is key to helping her juggle a full study load and parenting responsibilities.

“Citrine attends one of the University’s Kōhanga Reo centres, but Parent Space is great when, for whatever reason, I can’t take her to daycare. The opening hours (7.30am-6pm) mean we can be on campus outside of daycare hours. It’s a big help to be able to use the computer and free internet while Citrine has fun entertaining herself.”

Celeste Harrington, the University’s Early Childhood Education Centres manager, says the new Parent Space reflects and responds to the changing demographics of our students.

“The University’s student body is becoming older. Students who have children are entitled to have a safe place to go where parents can study and children are happy. Equally, our student parents may have extended family members who help care for their children- they are also able to access the room to help support parents who are studying.”

Zoe says the facilities at Parent Space are particularly useful: the phone means she can make last-minute medical appointments or arrange an unplanned pick-up for Citrine by her family; the fridge provides space for meals (and, for those who need it, breast milk storage); and the tea and coffee-making facilities provide what Zoe calls “parents’ fundamental right to coffee”.

“As a student who is a parent, juggling is my life,” says Zoe. “Having access to a parent-and-child-friendly place that is quiet, secure and comfortable makes a huge difference in both our lives.”

Read more about the University’s Parent Spaces and Breastfeeding Spaces