Riding a tricycle, children distributing flowers and exploring downtown SP – 06/05/2022

Impossible to walk through the Praca da Republic in central Sao Paulo without facing the most tragic face of Brazil’s largest city: camping tents in flower beds shelter homeless people and drug addicts roam among those who have lost their eyesight. Steps to get the job done.

However, a small revolution occurs whenever children between the ages of four and five ride tricycles and attack the area. They are students of the Armando de Arruda Pereira Municipal School of Early Childhood Education, which is located in the middle of the square and serves about 300 children. Teacher Livia Arruda, 36, who has been teaching there for 11 years, was a pioneer in taking classes to get around.

That day Tab Following the activity, 16 of the Libyan students rode motorcycles to distribute flowers to pedestrians. Two weeks ago, when the city was experiencing the worst autumn cold in nearly two decades, children also rode bicycles to the square to give hot tea to those who were there. According to Livia, everyone has prior approval from their parents to walk around the school. They don’t have to do anything: the teacher just tells them to be kind and tell everyone in the group to say “good morning”, the rest is spontaneous work.

The first person contacted at this time was Claudio Caldeira da Silva, 62, who worked as a bus inspector at the defunct CMTC (municipal transport company) and is now on the streets. He was sitting on a bench near the school.

“My grandchildren are 17, 18 years old today. These kids reminded me of them. I can only thank you for this attitude. I was so happy to receive this flower,” he said with tears in his eyes. Silva continues to thank him during the interview, for his attention, for looking into his eyes and hearing some of his story. Meanwhile, the motorcycle was advancing along the path of the square full bed skirt.

Municipal school students walk around the square and distribute flowers to pedestrians

Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL

‘Republic does not have its bad days’

During this time, the little ones have already crossed the small bridge that crosses the pond, with maintenance up to date, including a fountain and fish rights. The rest of the square is well maintained, with the exception of the footstool, which has a white bandstand and a full bench for sitting. While the children were playing, a team from City Hall pruned a tree, another painted the railings around the school, and street sweepers cleaned the floor.

All these workers, of course, receive flowers from children. The street sweepers even won, on their day, May 16, a themed motorcycle ride. The children made drawings and looked for them to pay their respects.

The picturesque Caetano de Campos building, a 19th-century building with the State Department of Education, encloses one side of the square. Behind this was created a temporary structure of Vidas no Centro, an initiative of the municipality which provides restrooms and laundry services for the weaker sections of the population. A few meters away, there is an access to the Republica subway station, served by two lines and always very busy.

Project Motocas na Praca, EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira, Praca da Repubblica, in downtown Sao Paulo - Reinaldo Canato / UOL - Reinaldo Canato / UOL
Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL
Project Motocas na Praca, EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira, Praca da Repubblica, in downtown Sao Paulo - Reinaldo Canato / UOL - Reinaldo Canato / UOL

Children who get on and off the Republica subway – and distribute flowers to those who work nearby

Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL

Libya, who was carrying a tray full of flowers, told the children to park their motorcycles and began distributing sprigs to those who entered and exited the subway. There were very few people who avoided contact with the students, anyone who took a flower and smiled or even risked taking out their cell phones to take pictures.

Risk is an appropriate way to describe cell phone use in downtown Sao Paulo. The city has a growing sense of insecurity associated with increasing robberies and thefts. The central region is still experiencing a moment of tension in recent attempts to disperse “Krakowlandia” and its streets are a reflection of the rapid growth of the homeless population. Oh Tab After Birada Cultural with students on Monday (30) morning, which registers trawlers and hostile weather, especially on Saturday and Sunday morning Anhangabau, 600 meters away.

Despite all the regrets, “the republic does not live its worst days,” said one police officer who has worked at the center for 20 years, six of whom are alone in the square. The Prime Minister’s serious and excited face relaxed as he talked about the children and the drawing that they had won on another trip there.

At first, the fear of violence scared Libyan classmates from leaving school, but he was able to show that everyone, students, teachers and those who pass (or live) in the square can only benefit by living together. Now, other classes also explore the school’s surroundings.

Professor Livia Aruda, from EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira, in downtown Sao Paulo - Reynaldo Canato UOL - Reinaldo Canato UOL

Professor Livia Arruda from EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira in downtown Sao Paulo

Photo: Reinaldo Canato UOL

Learning around

Students are trained to use tricycles before hitting the road. “It’s better to go out on a motorcycle because they are responsible for it and also have to pedal. The child is active, not passive, picked up by an adult. Spreading them on foot, talking to a friend is much easier, for example,” the teacher explained.

On the tour, he is accompanied by at least one other adult. There is also a project banner, “Motoka Na Praka”, and children wearing identification clothing with the school name clearly visible. Distance increases with confidence and weather.

The tricycles were purchased by the school and have a model for wheelchair users in the form of a comb. Students with disabilities are not excluded from activities – in the Liberian class, there is a boy with Down syndrome.

Project Motocas na Praca, EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira, Praca da Repubblica, in downtown Sao Paulo - Reinaldo Canato / UOL - Reinaldo Canato / UOL
Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL
Project Motocas na Praca, EMEI Armando de Arruda Pereira, Praca da Repubblica, in downtown Sao Paulo - Reinaldo Canato / UOL - Reinaldo Canato / UOL

The children are kind and greet everyone who meets them in the group

Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL

When he thought of going out on a motorbike with the kids, the teacher at the center thought not only of developing autonomy, but also of giving them a chance to get to know the city better. Because there are a lot of immigrant children in school – from Latin American, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, and from African, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, other countries. In all, the school has students from 12 different nationalities.

“There are many children who live in the center and who have never been to these places. We are close to everything from Ces 24 de Mayo, the Mario de Andre Library and the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center.” Livia personally goes to these places to ask permission to take minors, and says that on several occasions, she managed the organization to make exceptions for them, considering the age of the group. Visits to the Pivo Gallery, the Copan Building, and the Municipal Theater are now scheduled.

Available on Netflix, the reality show “Crescidinhos” has achieved international success by showing Japanese children between the ages of two and five working alone on the streets for the first time, such as buying food or taking clothes to the laundry. It’s a way of walking and those who watch the show imagine that it can only happen in a safe country like Japan.

When you see kids cycling in the Republic, even in a group and with adults, the impression can change. Even young children can gain some autonomy, they are able to understand and follow the basic rules of living and moving around the city and above all, they can evoke the best feelings in people, which can contribute to creating a lighter and more loving environment, more equal. “They see everyone as human beings; adults sometimes forget it,” the teacher points out to Livia. “It’s a great learning experience.”

Homeless people receive flowers from EMEI Armando de Aruda Pereira's Motocas Na Praka project at Praca da Republica in downtown Sao Paulo - Reinaldo Canato / UOL - Reinaldo Canato / UOL

‘They [as crianças] They see everyone as human; Adults sometimes forget that ‘, said the teacher

Photo: Reinaldo Canato / UOL

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