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In the Spotlight

Working Together for a Stronger City

Isa Witteveen is a second-year student of pedagogical sciences. She did her internship as part of City Deal Kennis Maken at Het Talent primary school in Lent. Sandy Kuhnen was associated with that school as an internship supervisor and, since this year, she is the director of De Lindenhoeve primary school (Lindenholt). In City Deal, Radboud University works together with HAN, ROC Nijmegen and the municipality to allow students to jointly tackle problems in Nijmegen’s districts and surrounding area .

Sandy Kuhnen: “As a school, we had been wondering for quite a while about how pupils in groups 7 and 8 spend their time after school hours. We noticed that they made less and less use of after-school care because they can spend their time at home on their own. But filling that time is not always easy. They are not that independent. You see these children hanging around at school or you hear that they spend the whole afternoon playing video games. Our question was what would those children really like? How does taking responsibility for their own free time fit in with their developmental phase? We were glad that the students from City Deal could help us answer these questions.”

‘Glad that the students from City Deal could help us answer our questions’

“The diverse make-up of the student groups in City Deal is immensely helpful. Students from the regional education centre (ROC), HAN’s College of Education for Primary School Teachers, HAN’s Educational Theory programme and Radboud University were able to contribute to the research based on the expertise and skills they bring from their studies. It was great to look at this issue from those different angles. For the practical research, a theatre assignment was chosen, where the children could express their own ideas and engage in conversation. The study conducted this year will be continued by a new group of students to find out what exactly the young people in Lent are missing and what facilities are needed there. Not only is City Deal an instructive concept for us as a school, but the students from the various institutions also learn a lot from each other. They can really complement each other.”

Isa Witteveen: “I thought it would be nice to step off the beaten track of my studies for my internship. I wanted to do something with education, and at City Deal I got the chance to address concrete requests for help from primary schools. We worked together with students from HAN and ROC Nijmegen. This time there were so many of us that we created two groups, each focusing on its own request for help. One question came from the parents of pupils in groups 1 and 2 who could not come to the school to say goodbye in this pandemic year. I focused on the school’s question about after-school care for groups 7 and 8: they had noticed that these pupils do not make use of it. Why is that, what do they do with those hours, and does it fit in with their developmental stage?”

“We found that it was not cool for these pupils to go to after-school care, in part because their friends and girlfriends did not go with them. The activities that fit in with their developmental phase take place in hobby and sports clubs, but these often only start after 5 pm. School ends at 2 pm, so there’s a gap, and they are too young to go to the city on their own. In our group, I was able to use my university studies to substantiate the developmental tasks that are appropriate for these pupils and determine whether these tasks correspond to what they actually do after school. Our group analysed the request for help this year. The next group is going to work on concrete recommendations about how to fill these children’s afternoon hours.”