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“Caperucita y el CovidLobo” (“Little Red Riding Hood and the COVID Wolf”) is a graphic story created by Heike Freire (educator and researcher) and Rocio Peña (art director and illustrator) aimed at minimising the negative effects of the health crisis on children’s development.

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Loris Malaguzzi considered the physical environment to be the “third teacher” in the learning system, after the teacher and the other children. In this post, the city is identified with that “third teacher” because it provides a setting made up of full and empty spaces, thus extending the educational environment beyond the school itself to the urban surroundings.

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Everything Checked

Image: TODO COMPROBADO (EVERYTHING CHECKED), illustration by Elisa C (2020)

Notebook ✓

Breakfast ✓

Hand gel ✓

Spare mask ✓

Excitement ✓✓✓

Everything checked. Penelope is ready to go back to school. Six month have passed since she and 8 million other Spanish children were sent home and not allowed to leave the house for months. They said that was the “best way” to combat the big, bad COVID wolf1, and Penelope wasn’t able to hug her friends, play ball or see Noah’s smile for months. And she won’t be able do those things now, either. Six months have passed and Penelope is ready to go back to school. They say so.

In this whole period, they haven’t stopped appearing on TV.

Them. Taking decisions that affected Penelope: how much longer she would have to stay in lockdown, when she could go and play with Noah again, and how she would go back to school.

Them. Talking about children, but not with children.

They didn’t even ask Penelope for her opinion.

They didn’t ask any other children, either.

But that wasn’t important.

It was just them.

At school, Penelope has to wear her mask, wash her hands, and keep away from the others to avoid infection. She won’t be able to share her crayons with Noah or touch her classmates, just so that they’ll be able to meet up with friends at terrace bars and betting shops. But that isn’t important. It’s just them.

Children have to stay one and a half metres from each other in the classroom, but Penelope can touch Noah if she stretches her arm out. The classrooms are shoeboxes: 50 m2 for 25 pupils. Barely 2m2 per child. And that’s in the best of cases. The only way to ventilate that shoebox in summer is to open a door and some exterior windows. And it’s the same in winter, when Penelope can’t take her coat off in class but they can take it easy in their air-conditioned offices. But that isn’t important. It’s just them.

There’s no way Penelope’s classroom can connect to other classrooms because they’re separated by a blind wall. The classrooms have no possibility of opening onto a corridor because they’re separated by a blind wall—with a door. They could go and have their classes in the woods, the playground. Or they could project the learning space beyond the classroom and use spaces (both full and empty) in the city as a learning network, turning streets, squares, parks, and even museums, factories, and workshops into part of Penelope’s school’s educational environment. The city as the third teacher.2

That’s one proposal for changing the ground rules of a traditional education system that needs a change—that’s crying out for a change—now more than ever before. But in Penelope’s city, that isn’t important. It’s just… Rrrrrrrrrrring!

The alarm clock has gone off. It was all a dream a nightmare.

Notebook ✓

Breakfast ✓

Hand gel ✓

Spare mask ✓

Excitement ✓✓✓

Everything checked. Penelope is ready to go to school and she can’t wait to tell Noah about her nightmare: a place where education and children aren’t important.

Because if nightmares aren’t told…they come true…


Text translated by Andrew V.Taylor. 
Notas de página
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“Caperucita y el CovidLobo” (“Little Red Riding Hood and the COVID Wolf”) is a graphic story created by Heike Freire (educator and researcher) and Rocio Peña (art director and illustrator) aimed at minimising the negative effects of the health crisis on children’s development.

2

Loris Malaguzzi considered the physical environment to be the “third teacher” in the learning system, after the teacher and the other children. In this post, the city is identified with that “third teacher” because it provides a setting made up of full and empty spaces, thus extending the educational environment beyond the school itself to the urban surroundings.

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Autor:
Arquitecta por la ETSAS (2017). Su proyecto final de carrera Paisajes Domésticos: sobre la arquitectura, lo social y el juego ha sido seleccionado en la Bienal de Venecia 2018. Creatividad, ganas e ilusión por mejorar cada día son características que la definen. Actualmente estudia el Máster de Diseño de Instalaciones en Arquitectura y Eficiencia Energética.

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