This spring ERA helped Jane’s Walk with the School Edition Program, a five-week curriculum designed to create student-led walking tours in two schools’ neighbourhoods. The program helps kids to get engaged in thinking about – and interacting with – their built environment in new and exciting ways.
ERA’s Sara Jazaeri and Jasmine Frolick joined a 9th grade ESL class at Central Technical School, where they shared research strategies, made connections between Toronto and students’ places of origin, and inspired conversation about students’ interests.
After a presentation by Jasmine on how to access online information from the Toronto Archives, the students broke into small groups to decide upon stops in the walking tour they wanted to create and research. Three classroom animators from Jane’s Walk and ERA helped the students to develop their research questions and find information online. With these tools students began weaving a narrative that connects their interests and personal histories to physical places in Toronto.
ERA’s George Martin joined Jasmine at Riverdale Collegiate Institute’s 12th grade World History class, where they modelled a mini-Jane’s Walk. The exercise sparked discussion among the students on topics ranging from potential uses of a church site undergoing development to the perceived level of safety in an alleyway. The mini-walk allowed students to understand the Jane’s Walk form as not just a walk, but a forum for conversation about the city.
Walking together, as Jane Jacobs championed, creates space for every person to observe, reflect, share, question, and collectively reimagine the places in which we live, work, and play.
The students participating in the School Edition program invite everyone to attend the various Jane’s Walks available. Head over to the Jane’s Walk website in order to check dates on the School Edition Program or the 145 other walks available this spring.