Climate Shelter Schools evaluate their transformations
The transformations carried out at each of the schools were not just decided by the project's technical team and the architects alone. From the very beginning, the interventions were agreed with the education community at each school, by means of two participative sessions that discussed what the priority actions for each school were and how they wished to approach them.
Now that the work has been completed and the interventions carried out, it is time to evaluate whether the results are what the communities expected. A third round of participative sessions has therefore been held in order to assess how the changes have affected the buildings, the playgrounds and the education communities. By means of virtual and in-person sessions, and some surveys that were sent to each centre beforehand, people's first impressions of the transformations were discussed, from the perspective of the students, the teachers, the families and even the local organisations around the schools. Their assessments were shared with the architects responsible for each project, who were also able to provide pertinent explanations.
The results of these evaluations show that, in general, the education communities are satisfied with the changes that have taken place at each school. The families, teachers and most of the students gave positive evaluations of the transformations, although some children regretted the loss of sports areas (mostly those that like playing football). The project has given the schools a chance to rethink these areas and the dynamics of play, favouring children who, because of their age or preference, do not prioritise ball games.
Therefore, although the students and teachers are aware that the final results of the interventions cannot be seen immediately, they are happy with their new shady, green spaces. Other interventions, such as the blue ones (water features) cannot be evaluated yet, because, due to health reasons linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has not been possible to use them.
The health crisis has also conditioned the current use of the playgrounds, because at the moment, students are unable to choose the areas they want to play in. As the playgrounds are divided into sections, as a preventative measure, they cannot choose which area of the playground they would like to go to. Therefore the playground's uses and the resulting evaluations are not really what was originally envisaged, because the children cannot play where they like, but are confined to their bubble group's designated area.
Summer will be the key time
Because these measures are geared towards improving the comfort of the education communities at certain times, mainly hot periods, the evaluations cannot be concluded yet, as the key time will be during the summer, when we will really be able to see if these measures are effective in lowering temperatures. For this reason, new participative sessions are planned for the summer term, when the interventions will be assessed again, but this time to determine whether they really achieve the objectives they were designed for.