Urban education: how Germany includes the urban space in early childhood education

One of the entrepreneurship pillars is to find out creative ways to solve a problem, impacting the society positively. In order to do that, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings, as well as the social, economic and political issues that affect the lives and daily activities of the community. Following this idea, Germany has found a way to develop citizenship awareness in children to encourage them to become more conscious and engaged adults. Get to know some of the urban education initiatives in the country that include children in the cities routine.

Children and public policy together? Of course!

It was during an activity at school that young Josephine Hebling began to question the children participating in the public policy development. Encouraged by an educator, the girl created Freiburg’s Children Council, which debates and takes proposals for the city’s public institutions. So far, they have already been able to plead for the municipal movie theater activation and the construction of a gymnasium.

The Children Council is not the only initiative in Freiburg, a city already recognized for being ‘friendly’ to the little ones. The local administration already manifested interest of including children in urban dynamics when it commissioned a survey to map their action in urban space in the 1990s. In 2004 the Project Stadteildetektive, or District Detectives, was created so the children could point out obstacles in their everyday activities and suggest improvements to facilitate their displacement in the urban roads. A similar project is realized since 2015 in 22 other German cities. The goal of Mehr Freiraumm für Kinder, ein Gewinn für alle (More Free Space for Children, a Gain for All) campaign is to ensure free and safe mobility of children in the cities.

Playable city

‘Playable cities’ main concept developed by professor Bernhard Meyer is to include children’s point of view in the city planning. In Griesheim, the  junior citizens were asked to mark the journeys of their homes to the school or playing places, directing what attracted and repelled their attention. The collected information were taken to urban planners in charge to transform the places, proposing meaningful experiences for the children.

Want to know more about how to learn citizenship and urban education while playing? Read this post.

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