Niñas a la Escuela (Girls to School)
Images by Carla Jara F.
Niñas a la Escuela (Girls to School) is an approach to make girls points of views more visible. It aims at learning about girls' experience of their daily journey to school and their walking routes through their neighbourhood. The final purpose is to make them visible and address a child’s perspective on urban design projects related to mobility and public spaces. The recording of urban experiences is done through a personal notebook, which is a mix between a life journal and an activity book. Filling the notebook is part of a school activity, using one teaching hour for three weeks. The activity is carried on with two different scholar levels in a public primary school of the Council of Renca, in Santiago. More than 200 girls participated, sharing different perspectives about their urban environment. The outcome consisted in providing a vision of Renca from a child’s perspective and giving general notions to the municipality of the main urban concerns for the girls. In their collective vision, new possibilities and topics appear: concern for the garbage, neglected areas, and inappropriate behaviours in the public space. On the other hand, they stress the value of nature, including vegetation and animals, and fun places where they can play safely. Girl’s views put aside the traditional ways adults build public spaces.
Location: Santiago, Chile
Organisation: La Reconquista Peatonal (The Pedestrian Reconquest) Non-profit
Partner organisations: Municipality of Renca Beneficiary: Girls between 6 and 11 years old
Scale of catchment: Neighbourhood
Built environment component: Streets; Routes to school
INTERVENTION DESIGN LEARNINGS
Girl’s view of their urban environment is most of the time fragmented. They focus their attention in particular things; flowers, dogs and cats that are in their way, remarkable houses and buildings. With these pieces of the city and their personal imaginaries, they create a world that opens endless possibilities of urban interventions that adults sometimes leave out. Material:
Girls' experiences are collected through a personal paper notebook divided into different sections. Firstly, they are asked to put general information and to draw themselves on their way to school. Secondly, they have to draw and describe the route. Finally, they have to reflect on and assess their neighbourhoods Process:
The project is implemented through three classroom session of one hour each, in which students (6-7 and 10-11 years old) fill the notebook in their different sections. The process is implemented across different weeks to give time to the girls to look closely to their neighbourhoods and re-fill the notebooks with different perceptions. Location:
The walks are conducted on the girl’s daily walking routes to school and through their neighbourhoods. Implementation learnings: Working with children requires much more time than what we usually expect and should consider unexpected events. Girls are not mere informants, every activity they do is also an opportunity for learning new things and for empowering them in what being a citizen means. To better record experiences, it would be useful to audio or video record to have a more complete vision and to use as information the interesting conversations that happened in the classroom activity. Lastly, asking their consent to participate and use their data and their tutor's authorisation is fundamental when working with children.