We are students of “Agrupamento de escolas Santos Simões” of Visual Arts course and the objective of our project is to improve accessibility and mobility for entering and exiting the school, so that the school community can be a better and safer place. For that, we used our formation and skills to draw the community’s attention to our project. It consists to an expansion of the parking area and creation of a vertical garden. On the other hand, we made drawing posters to raise drivers' awareness of the speed, and comics that served to promote our initiatives.
Our school was invited to participate in the international educational challenge “YOUR Ideas YOUR Initiatives" and to work on the topic – Road Safety – which was given to know in the discipline of Arts Workshop, from professor Quitéria Campos, who put us alongside the regulations and objective of this initiative.
Since the beginning of the project, the entire work process has been recorded, including ideas, sketches and photographs, among others. To facilitate the development of the project and allow greater creative exploration, the class was divided into three groups in order to develop the project.
From observing the photographic record of certain places around the school grounds, we came to the conclusion that accessibility and safety were being hampered by the following problems:
- Cars are accumulated along the traffic lane and the excess of traffic in peak hours causes the chaos when leaving school.
- The use of a steep slope path present in the grassy area beside from school.
- The speed at which vehicles circulated near the school due to the inclined plane.
We developed a questionnaire, which aimed to understand whether the school community was satisfied or dissatisfied, taking into account the current conditions, and thus knowing their feedback on proposals for improving the school accessibility.
The questionnaire was introduced on a digital platform, Google Forms, and sent to school community people through personal emails.
In view of the problems exposed, the following ideas emerged:
- The lawn area next to the school would be used to increase the number of parking lots and improve road circulation during rush hour;
- This same space would be used to improve the accessibility of the entire school community. Taking advantage of the slope of the land and its wide area, some wide stairs with ramp included for easy access for everyone and a vertical garden with leisure space that would improve the school environment.
- The installation of speed bumps or signaling would be a solution to reduce the speed near the school area.
At the same time, we tried to materialize the ideas proposed above through different actions: elaboration of posters and comics that served not only to raise awareness of drivers in relation to the reduction of speed practiced near the school, promoting thus road safety, but also to show our proposals to improve the access to school, among other initiatives.
After scanning or photographing the posters and the comic strips, the materials available were shared with the community through the school's website, their dissemination on the facebook and its display.
All the work related to the contest was sent to the school’s direction and followed by several people, both from and outside the school community. The Class Director, the Department Coordinator, a group of 600 teachers Visual Arts, the Eco-Schools Project Coordinator, GNR, among others, were part of this group.
We also had the continuous support of Professor Quitéria and Dr. Sandra, who were monitoring and pointing out what we should improve and how, the work was always progressing in a positive way.
We think that this project was very interesting and enriching, because we had the opportunity to make a difference within our environment, our school, which is the place where we spend most of our time. Therefore, we wanted our school to become an even more welcoming space where everyone enjoys life, with safety that it’s everyone's responsibility. In addition, we can also see the importance of road safety in our daily lives, also contributing to the improvement of our second home - our school. Despite all the work we had, we found it rewarding to participate in a project with this dimension and be the first Portuguese school to participate.
Our proposals, ideas and all our work was well received by the whole community school and the projects were all very appealing, fulfilling their main objective, information and awareness of the entire surrounding community.