Rural Children’s First Experiences of Urban Elementary School Space

A Child-Centered Multi-Method Case Study in Brazil


  • Letícia Michele Stencel
  • JungJa Park-Cardoso
  • Ana Paula Soares da Silva


child-centered research, multi-method research, rural children, school environment, urban school


We explored Brazilian rural children’s first experiences of urban elementary school spaces, through observations and a child-centered multi-method approach, which included conversation circles and individual interviews with six children based on their drawings and photographs. Data showed participants had a fragile relationship with the school spaces and difficulty in constructing new meanings for the spaces due to the restrictive and controlling nature of the school environment. The study suggests that educators should consider offering opportunities for children to shape and manage certain spaces to support their development possibilities, enhance their satisfaction with the school environment, and ease their transition to this new setting.