14 SES 08 A JS, Transitions and Links in Urban/Rural Place-Based Learning
Symposium Joint Session NW 14 with NW 30
Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl is a settlement on the outskirts of Mexico City that began as an illegal community of squatters during the 1960s. The inhabitants, from a variety of rural settlements and ethnicities, lacked basic services. In 1981, a community preschool education scheme was started up on the initiative of mothers from the community along with a group of academics. They argued that mainstream services did not meet the needs and realities of the families and children. Using a methodology inspired by Paulo Freire’s strongly associated with a context of poverty, exclusion and the intention to improve power relationships—the participants designed a curriculum that encouraged learning through place-based discovery and play. Mothers underwent a process of empowerment that enabled them to achieve some financial improvement. Over time the Project was left in the hands of the mothers, who extended it to other marginalized urban and rural communities. This paper discusses the features that made this an effective process, and how the Project shifted from being focused solely on children, subsequently including families and communities and adapting to urban and rural environments.
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