Boosting community activities in nursery schoolsThe future model for municipal nursery schools as early childhood centres continues to move forward, with schools bringing communities the same level of education and work-life balance offered by these centres.
The meeting “Early childhood, big opportunities: education, child-rearing and community” offers a chance to reflect on early childhood and the importance of education and care in a fairer city with equal opportunities. Under this context, the report “Community nursery schools, early childhood centres. Strengthening community life at municipal nursery schools in Barcelona”, compiled by the Barcelona Municipal Institute for Education (IMEB), analyses the current situation of the 103 nursery schools in the municipal network.
The goal of the study was to identify to what extent the community dimension is present in nursery schools through everyday activities such as parties and celebrations organised by families, family time in playgrounds, markets and exchange activities for clothes and materials in playgrounds open to neighbourhoods. In all, a thousand activities were counted, a significant number but not evenly spread around all nursery schools.
For instance, the data collected show:
- Nine out of ten nursery schools host activities designed to get families involved, with 75% of these jointly conceived by families and the staff.
- Eight out of ten schools host parties and celebrations, generally organised by staff.
- 19% of nursery schools offer family activities in the afternoons.
- A third of nursery schools host talks and workshops for families on child-rearing and health, organised by public health services.
- One in four nursery schools open their playground to the local neighbourhood on Saturday mornings as an outdoor meeting space for play and culture for all families with children up to the age of six.
- Half of the city’s nursery schools offer family spaces in September, coinciding with the familiarisation process for children.
Model in expansion
The results of the report show the path to follow to roll out the practices across the whole network of municipal nursery schools, developing community pilot projects which involve other centres, with more training on community action from the service and the identification of projects, experiences and good practices to be replicated at the rest of facilities.