Collecting Data in La Carpio

From July 17, 2012

Today, we pulled up to “Guarderia Kinder los Angeles,” one of Gail’s buildings that serves as school and community center.  While the rest of the research team went upstairs to meet with children and teachers at the center, Gail and I went across the street to a printing shop/convenience/hardware store.  We were warmly greeted by the proprietor Ray and used his computer to make final edits to the surveys before printing.  Then we gathered the team and started site visitation and data collection.

My research focuses on adult attitudes towards the environment, while other members of our team investigate attitudes in young children and teens. Gail and the team conversed and agreed that we would share our findings with her in order to inform her work in La Carpio.  Gail welcomed our research because it will provide her with a quantitative baseline for environmental attitudes.  She spends so much of her time working to alter these attitudes, that she hasn’t devoted energy to tracking her progress.  During our brainstorming sessions, she jumped at the idea of using the child measure to compare attitudes among samples that were in the La Carpio Clean program and samples outside of the program.

After picking up the surveys from Ray, our team traveled to our first collection site, the Centro Modelo.  This group of pre-kinder children benefited from an excellent teacher, Doña Fatima.  As we walked in the room, they greeted us with a Spanish/English song describing how they are “flowers in the garden of life.”  The session only got more environmental from that point.  Gail oriented the children to our project and then held a short conversation with the kids about the knowledge of trash in their home community.  After the introduction, the pre-kinder children drew their solution to the trash problem in La Carpio.  They then explained their drawings to the teachers as the teachers transcribed their solutions.  We brought back 11 surveys from the Centro Modelo and left Doña Fatima with extra copies to distribute to absent students.

Next we returned to Guaderia Kinder Los Angeles, a Montessori style school.  We performed a similar introduction with the children and teachers and collected 27 pre-kinder surveys from this location.

We then walked down the street to the public school for this section of La Carpio.  We collected pre-kinder data in a similar way, but with a few alterations.  The public schools highly prioritize security so we went through a guarded gate and were only permitted to take pictures of children’s backs.  We took back 27 pre-kinder surveys from this location.  We also sampled school age children at the same public school.  We collected 24 surveys from a classroom of energetic fifth graders.    To gather adult data, Gail distributed the survey at her teacher’s meeting in late afternoon and we collected several surveys from the teachers at the public school.

Update from July 20, 2012

We returned later in the week to collect data on the adult population of La Carpio.  We split our research team into two groups and traveled door to door, surveying adolescents and adult members of all available families.  This process again demonstrated the value of a solid community contact.  As soon as we identified ourselves as working with Gail and the CRHF and told the participants the nature of the survey, we got open and accurate responses.  Within 90 minutes, we had surveyed over 80 people in the neighborhood surrounding the Centro Modelo.