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  • Writer's pictureWhabout

Mozambique Preschool

By- Whabout (@wha.bou.t)

How can a school be a stage for the transformation of a community?

A school should be, in principle, an inclusive space. Ensuring equal conditions of education access for all is essential in order to guarantee quality in student formation and, consequently, the transformation of the community in which it operates. An inclusive school is not just the one that takes into consideration all the physical adaptations needed for circulation.

An inclusive school is the one that also recognizes, respects and values ​​the potentialities, difficulties and above all, the diversity of its students. It’s the one that understands the individual contributions of each emerging as a collective potential. It’s a place that promotes beyond learning, the respect, acceptance, empathy, and affection. The space of affection is a transformative key in a child's life. It's the shelter, the second home.

Education is a human right. It’s able to give the child the knowledge and skills to face life's challenges and it is crucial for restructuring fragile communities as a tool to fight poverty, disease, violence, exploration and daily abuse. When we understand that the primary function of education is the learning that happens in exchange with the collective, we understand that education does not happen only at the physical and built boundary of the classroom, but in every corner of the school and the community. And from this we understand the African proverb that “it takes an entire village to raise a child.”By using clay bricks (CEB - compressed earth blocks) as main material, wood and iron sheets for the roof, the function of the school we propose is to be a safe, friendly and welcoming environment to start educating these children. A school that encourages not homogenizing pedagogy and develops interpersonal skills to mirror human diversity.

In this way, the campus is divided into small-scaled buildings, in order to form a miniature village, around a central courtyard, creating a more welcoming environment for children, an appropriate ambience for the classroom routine and encouraging multi-level interactions between private and public spaces. A variety of atriums, courtyards and perspectives allows different opportunities and interesting spaces for children to explore. At the same time, different-sized windows, with heights for child visibility, inspire them to enhance the interactions with each other and to discover surrounding areas, which helps developing confidence and autonomy. In this way, architecture becomes the tool for personal and community development.

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