Photos: David Stanley and Anja Petrović
From June 20th to 27th, team Škograd held Schoolaboratory 001, a summer school for local children in Ledine. The week-long activities took place in the local elementary school - mostly in the spacious schoolyard, where we found shade in the hot days of June.

The project was conducted with support from the Goethe Institute, the local school, and entrepreneurs and craftsmen from the neighborhood. All local children were invited to participate - from pre-school to graduate ages, regardless of whether they were students of the local school or not. We're thrilled that more than forty of them joined!

Our goal was to get to know the children and the context in which they are growing up, develop a sense of belonging to the local school, and strengthen connections between the community and the school - both spatially and symbolically - through play, conversation and collective creation.

During the summer school, we organized common activities for all participants as well as group projects in four thematic groups: music and choreography, storytelling, video and drama, and crafts. Among other things, we created a list of rules of friendly behavior and painted our tools and equipment (pallets used as furniture, styrofoam cubes used as drums etc). Children also made a mental map of the neighborhood, marking their way from home to school with brush strokes on a large canvas.

Our guest, journalist and writer Hana Gadomski, organized a storytelling workshop where, by acting as forest creatures, we tried to recognize skills we could learn from each other (e.g. we realized that a pack of wolves could teach us how to stick together, and giants showed us that big creatures can be kind). Another guest - Maja Bosnić, composer in projects Shhumigrad (Murmurcity) and Đubrofonija (Junkophonia) - held a workshop on making recycled musical instruments. We made trumpets out of straws, drums out of boxes, rattles out of cans, and even a guitar, using a plastic bottle and a few rubber bands! In one of our morning stretching sessions, we were joined by pedagogist and yoga instructor Marina Ristić, who taught the bravest of us how to do handstands.

We also started crafting our school hymn - while the music group was working on the beat and melody and storytellers were developing the lyrics, the crafts team designed a stage made out of pallets where the piece would be performed to the neighbors. The hymn is not quite done yet, so we'll keep working on it in the fall, when the kids are back in school.

There were a few evening activities as well: on the second day - 21st of June - a group of us went to the performance of Elemental Culture Collective at Kolarac Foundation, and on Saturday, June 24th, a dozen of us attended the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s open-air concert.  Sunday night was booked for a screening of short films in the schoolyard. The event attracted other neighbors as well, particularly mothers with children.

The final day was made memorable in the entire neighborhood as we passed through the streets of Ledine in a festive atmosphere, inviting neighbors to join us in celebrating the end of Schoolaboratory 001. In the schoolyard, we set up an exhibition of artifacts created during the week-long workshops, screened Sci-fi School, a short video made by the video & drama team, and handed out diplomas to the participants. Both neighbors and our friends from throughout the city joined the celebration.

Over the eight days, we bonded with the children and we all feel part of one team now. The summer school was just a starting phase of collaboration between team Škograd and the local school staff in strengthening the relationship between the school and the community.

In September, new adventures await... Stay tuned!

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