Community Hubs

In School-Community hubs several good things happen together

 

Public services and activities are located in a school or in an adjoining site. They work together with the school, share space, avoid duplications and conflicts, improve transparency. When you go for one, you discover the others.

 

Things overlapping with the school’s educational purpose are then close together. Think childcare, family literacy, settlement advice for newcomers, health screening (dental, sight, hearing, vaccinations).

 

The school is open to community use. Think pools, gyms, sports fields, community gardens, community kitchens, art classes, community drama and music. All public, all open, all barrier-free — ideally all cost-free to the neighbourhood user.

 

Of course, the primary focus of schools is educational. So we must tie all these public services and activities into that.

Learning will include an understanding of health, gardening, cultural diversity in the arts, food security, newcomer challenges, and sustainable energy.

School projects can serve the community with help on growing food in yards or balconies. They can inform about changes in the natural environment or local economy. They can guide consumer choices, diets and health risks, and possible career paths They can publicize cultural events and festivals and stimulate interest in local history, about diets and health risks, and so on. All schools do some of this now. But local neighbours other than involved parents rarely get to know or benefit. A great hub school will have expert knowledge at hand to prevent this sharing of knowledge from going off the rails.

 

Finally, in the hub, boundaries between different groups can be overcome for everyone’s benefit. Intergenerational learning connects childcare programs, after-school activities and senior volunteers. Intercultural activities in the community can improve mutual understanding and appreciation, even bridging language differences.