Alumni Ronald Hueskens and Jansje Meijman (Master of Education in Arts) graduated with the project BijBloemPraatPlantsoen (BirdsandBeesPublicGardenforDiscussion).
The BijBloemPraatPlantsoen is an arts educational intervention at the Openbare Daltonschool Nellestein in Amsterdam-Zuidoost (Amsterdam Southeast), the aim of which is to challenge the parents from this primary school to reflect on their role in the interpersonal and sex education of their children, and to discover and/or strengthen their position in relation to this subject. The public garden was an artistically-designed space in the central hall of the school. The parenting questions, the insecurities, the opinions, the rules, the striking statements or embarrassing outpourings of parents in terms of relationships and sex education were depicted literally using objects, images or texts in the public garden. Through this design and with the help of a moderator, the parents would be encouraged to share their own perspective with the others in this space. The aim of this exchange was not to be able to ultimately formulate a clear-cut answer about what the best approach is for all parents, but rather to hone personal ideas regarding this subject through each other’s perspectives. Nellestein offered the opportunity to bring together many perspectives, because the parent population of the school is very culturally diverse. We took this diversity as the starting point in this project and used it, as it were, to our advantage.
The coronavirus crisis has had a major impact on this project, because on the day that the public garden was to be opened, the government announced that the schools were going to be closed. The project week with group discussions, lessons and a meeting especially for fathers could not, therefore, take place. In response to this setback, we made a digital version of the public garden. In this video, the moderator Lesny Heikerk takes the parents through the public garden in eight clips. By posting responses beneath the clips, an exchange of perspectives and a discussion between parents could take place after all. The BijBloemPraatPlantsoen will open once more at the Nellestein primary school in the spring of 2021, should the coronavirus situation permit this.
Jenny Horstink, director ODS Nellestein: ‘Two things are combined in this project that are important to us as a primary school, namely attention for children’s sex education and parental involvement. Sex education is a topic that is handled in all years at our primary school according to the personal level of the child. But it is not only our duty as a school to discuss this topic. The parents themselves also play a very important role herein. However, parents must know in that case how to approach that. That is why it’s so impressive that the parents and their parenting questions about this topic are the main focus in the BijBloemPraatplantsoen. The playful, creative and artistically-minded manner of presentation makes it very accessible, as a result of which parents are given that push to delve into it.’
Denise Harleman, teacher Master of Education in Arts: ‘A project in which arts education quality, entrepreneurship, empathic and ethical leadership have together resulted in an inviting project in which parents, primary school management, children, teachers and artists have maintained an ongoing dialogue in order to realise this activity.'