At La Sauvagère, the new schoolyard wasn’t enough to revolutionize children’s games

[Femmes dans la ville – Dossier 4/6] In Lyon, Robins des Villes is implementing various projects to make schoolyards more inclusive. In the courtyard of La Sauvagère school (9And), after five months, results are mixed.

With laminate flooring and tree planting, the new courtyard of La Sauvagère School (Lyon 9And), which was opened by Mayor Gregory Ducet in September 2021, provides a clean, plant-based play area and… a “degraded” play area? “By dismantling large concrete plazas it helped enhance certain skills such as “run faster”, We offer alternatives where everyone can thrive and transcend the issue of gender.”says Elise De El Din, project manager at Robins des Villes.

Established in 1997 in Lyon, the structure was recently involved in the Lyon School stadium greening project to combat heat islands, but not only. “Vegetation is a trojan to bring up other topics, such as mixed use and equal sharing of space among all”Elise continues.

Find the first part of our file “Women in the City”: “The Street is Ours”: Lyonnais’ struggle for their peace and equality

Ball games and the sacred soccer field are clearly in sight. These grounds will contribute to the exclusion of girls from the heart of the court and the preference for older boys. “We notice that girls are in the periphery of the yard while boys are more in the middle, project manager beats, Even if girls have the ability to play football, but from a social point of view, they are not allowed to. »

By creating more complex play areas, the association intends to promote freer activities and reduce these disparities at its level. Wow the theory.

no revolution

In practice, after five months at La Sauvagère, director Christophe Maillot manages the impact of development on his students: “It has not revolutionized things, we already have this mix. Boys and girls used to play ball together before and still do. Moreover, the issue of gender was not directly addressed during the consultations with Robins des Villes. The aim was above all to provide A more enjoyable environment for children. »

Florence Delaunay, city assistant, is convinced that organizing space is not enough by itself: These equal arrangements are necessary, but they are not everything, other tools must be used. For this to work, adults who accompany the children must be trained and given appropriate activities. »

These equal arrangements are necessary but not everything, other tools must be used.

Florence Delaunay, City Assistant

And so the educational team at La Sauvagère imagine other ball and playground games, but uprooting old habits of schoolchildren is not easy, and few of them still feel nostalgic for the vast expanse of asphalt to play soccer. During the inauguration, a young boy challenged the mayor to this topic: “Basically, I wanted cages and a soccer field, but they replaced it with wood chips.” Grégory Doucet remained dumbfounded, to the delight of his opponents, and some described this approach as“ideological and ideological”.

freedom of expression

Realizing the limits that simple arrangements can impose ‘Much deeper disparities’Robins des Villes still designed. Since 2019, she has been leading workshops in secondary schools as part of the College of Equality project. The ambition, this time, is to question relationships between the sexes and the representation of women and men in the public space with adolescents.

class 4And The College of La Clavilliers (Oullins) is currently benefiting from a series of four city-funded workshops. The first session in the form of a role-play enabled the pupils to address discriminatory situations. College students were then able to walk the streets of Oullins with a notebook in hand: “They counted the number of people, observed their behavior according to their gender, and looked at street names. The goal was to make them question the sharing of space.”

The next two sessions will deal more specifically with the problems inherent in the playing field. As with the École La Sauvagere, the aim is to consider future development proposals to make it more egalitarian.

Frank Komarmond, professor of history and geography, draws the first positive assessment, but still questions the realization of these workshops: “For now, it’s theory, discussions, I’m waiting to see what happens next. Anyway, this really enabled the pupils to compare their views and edit their voices, especially the girls’ voices. They interacted much more than during the traditional course, where They can drop the topic and talk about topics they know or have experienced, such as street harassment.” More than just equipping a new playground, these interventions also and above all aim to raise awareness and open the minds of the younger generation.

Iris Brunner and Romain Degrand

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