Category Children’s Spaces

‘Seeds of the future’

Starting a garden is like planting seeds of hope for

future generations to have better lives___ Our

school grounds are going to be transformed into

something fertile and fruitful.71

On a global scale, school feeding programmes are perceived by agencies such as the World Food Programme to be the key to ending global hunger and associated inequalities. Drought and associated famine which strike areas such as Kenya immediately impact upon schools where children, especially girls, are withdrawn while their families cope with the short – or long-term crisis. UNICEF has reported a drop in school attendance of between 5 and 10 per cent in such areas at these times.

Poverty, hunger or malnutrition are usually associated with the non-industrialized majority world...

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Growing schools and edible school yards

… the outdoor clay oven is full of flame, stoked with dry sticks collected in the woods; next to it the bread made from the wheat from our ‘field’ in the garden is rising. In the classroom the jam made from the hedgerow blackberries in September is being brought out; and butter made from cream from the local farm, is being salted and put into dishes. Bottles of apple juice made in September and stored in the freezer are being defrosted. Class three will celebrate the end of the term’s farming work with a jam sandwich and a glass of juice, won by the sweat of their brows 58

In contrast to the approach taken by ‘Focus on Food’ in the UK, the growing schools and edible school yard movements are conscious of the importance of teaching, through experience, that food does not originate in ...

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Portable edible landscapes

In the United Kingdom, an estimated 50 per cent of school children bring packed lunches for their midday meal, a far lower proportion than elsewhere in Europe. An unknown number of children take food to school in the form of snacks of variable nutritional value. A packet of crisps can be consumed on the way to school, as a substitute for breakfast. According to a recent survey, 40 per cent of children have, by way of breakfast, a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps on the way to school.52 Crisp packets turn up again as plastic pencil cases and holdalls. Certainly in Britain, where packet crisps were invented during the 1940s, the primary school classroom and wider environment can almost not be envisaged without the ubiquitous crisp packet.

Often, the crisp packet accompanies the lunch box ...

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Edible spaces: designing for choice

The exercise of choice matters for children. In spite of Human Rights legislation and increased awareness of the importance of agency in childhood, the economic or market imperative is today the more powerful force. Early examples of initiatives in furnishing an element of choice in school meals can be found. A New York high school cafeteria in 1934 introduced suggestion boxes, soliciting from the girls ‘what they would like and how they would like it’. The same school offered the following ‘conveyor belt’ feature:

The students passing in line, help to make their own sandwiches… The student chooses her filling and the kind of bread she wants; the worker spreads the filling on the top slice of bread and hands the girl that slice and the one beneath it, on waxed paper...

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The corporate edible landscape of school

It’s back to school and kids aren’t the only ones heading for the classroom. Marketers are taking more and more products from the boardroom to the homeroom and lunchroom through innovative partnerships.32

A 1995 report by the US-based Consumers Union divides corporate involvement in schools into four categories. First is in-school advertising, such as advertising or corporate logos on buses, walls, scoreboards, and book covers. Second is commercialism in classroom magazines and television programmes. Third are corporate sponsored educational materials and programmes, including multimedia teaching kits, workbooks, posters, and other teaching aids...

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Inherited edible school spaces

The children commenting on their idealized or imagined school environments, both in 1967 and today, did so within an inherited school design and tradition. The edible landscape, and particularly the school meal, is immediately recognizable as a fundamental feature of schooling, particularly in the UK where the school day was established early in its history as lasting late into the afternoon. Some European countries established early a system whereby the school day terminates around lunchtime, children returning to their homes to eat. In Germany, from the early twentieth century it became customary to freely provide warm milk and a roll to school children. Here, as in Scandinavia, children today carry a snack to school, consumed together with their peers mid morning (see below)...

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‘The School I’d Like’: envisioned edible landscapes, 1967 and 2001

The school I’d Like Would be so fun With no strict teachers And in the shape of a big bun

(Sarah, age 11, Edinburgh.)14

In 1967 the Observer newspaper hosted a competition which provided the opportunity for secondary school children in the UK to describe and design their preferred or ideal school. Nine hundred and forty-three entries were received
amounting to some half a million words, innumerable charts, collages, architectural or pseudo-architectural drawings. In the words of Edward Blishen, who later edited the collection into a small volume, The School That I’d Like, ‘it amounted to an enormous, remarkably good humoured, earnest, frequently passionate and, at its best, highly intelligent plea for a new order in our schools...

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The edible landscape of school

Catherine Burke

One of my earliest memories of school is associated with fear of the school dinner hall. One day, during the school meal, I felt sick and discovered an escape route from the daily hazard of dinner time. I was allowed to lie down on a camp bed inside the reception class room and was left. I found great comfort there with no one to worry me. Somehow I managed to escape each dinner time for a few days as I found myself experiencing the same symptoms as soon as midday approached. A sympathetic teacher led me once more to the little camp bed and I was left alone. Like so many children, it was perhaps the fear of losing control and becoming ill which caused the anxiety and actual symptoms...

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Site design and play

Children’s participation in the design process is a valuable way to teach them about the multitude of problems and opportunities that must be addressed in the creation of school environments.

Подпись: Figure 11.22 Third prize perspective by Kamni Gill. (Photo: Lisa McNiven.)
As ‘players’ in the design process, children will be able to more readily connect their own actions and decisions with environmental change, a key to sustainability. Honourable mention Robert Dorgan of the United States, uses a landscape spatial typology, represented in Frobelian-like blocks, to involve children and neighbours in the process of designing their own environment. Vacant lots, crossroads, marshes, forests, allees and cloisters, for example, are represented by different block assemblages...

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Forest management and community events

Cultivating and harvesting food are significant programmes for understanding the external environment as a dynamic system and inculcating a respect for other living things.18 The jury noted that many of the design proposals included programmes that used forest or agricultural

Подпись: Figure 11.20 Second prize drawing by Claudia Illanes Barrera with Andrew Harris Diez, and Loles Herrero Canela. (Photo: Susan Herrington.)
Forest management and community events

management as an educational and community building event. Honourable mention Dave Hutch and Jean Kindratsky’s ‘Threads of Relationship’ proposes a schoolyard where children and neighbours are the agents of change as they are encouraged to participate in specific events that help maintain the forest proposed for the wet site. These events occur daily, weekly, monthly, and guide the seasonal use of the site...

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