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Centre for Urban Schooling

PLAY (Place, Activity, Youth)

Geographies of a Model School


Big Questions:

1. What role do healthy school and physical activity (PA) initiatives play in student success in a model school?

2. Is there a correlation between physical health, school health, and the social health of the neighbourhood?


Researcher: Dr. Caroline Fusco
Research Theme: Schooling and Community Connections

This research examined what role physical educational landscapes played in the health of a model school and its community. Educational landscapes that account for the diversity of students and the complexity of urban space in a city like Toronto play a key role in advancing the health of schools and their students and communities, and may contribute to children’s perceptions and experiences of success, achievement, and engagement.

Watch the full interview with
Dr. Caroline Fusco

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

This research focuses on the geographies of schools and pays attention to the importance of place (Fitzpatrick, K., & LaGory, M. (2003), specifically how health practices are governed in school spaces (Fusco, 2007) and what children’s and teachers conceptions, perceptions and lived realities of healthy school spaces are (Lefebvre, 1991).

 

Research Questions and Methods

Primary questions

  • What role do healthy school and physical activity initiatives play in student success in a model school?
  • Is there a correlation between physical health and school health?
  • How do various stakeholders imagine a healthy school space in a model school environment?
  • What role does the school play in the social health of the neighbourhood?
  • What are the existing social inclusions and exclusions that impact on the social and physical health of students?

Methods

Using spatial ethnography methods, I conducted classroom observations and focus-group interviews with teachers and staff (n=9) and students (n=16, grade five and grade six). I also had children participate in a write and draw exercise (i.e., ‘draw and give a description of your ideal physical activity space’). Finally, school spaces were videoed and photographed.

Read significant findings

 

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