Location and general information
In general, Portuguese children are swamped with organised activities (from school to extra-curricular activities), they have poor access to physical activities, little free time and almost no time for free play – but the thing they wish for most of all is to play freely outside. Portuguese parents would love to see their children play freely outside, however they are overly afraid that their children might get abducted, sexually abused, have an accident on the road or get into a fight with other children. The project aims to provide children with opportunities to naturally develop their motor and social skills and adopt healthier lifestyles, while offering their parents a safe and healthy way to occupy their children.
Brincar de Rua will provide free, active and non-digital play experience in urban areas to children aged 5 to 12. The children will be able to go to the play group in their neighbourhood and take part in activities that promote their health, development and well-being.
Brincar de Rua has developed a high-impact and scalable programme which:
- trains monitors, volunteers and mentors who manage groups of children;
- involves local partners;
- provides a web platform that gathers all the group information (security, training, membership) and puts everyone in contact;
- evaluates security issues for each play group and provides specific materials;
- schedules a play calendar and manages the monitors present at each play-group session;
- registers every child, provides each child with an insurance policy and gives each one a GPS locator to use in the sessions (this is managed through a mobile phone app that allows parents to know the exact location of their children).Children are happy to enjoy their neighbourhood, develop personal and social skills, and get active and healthy.
Ludotempo, the owner of the project, is a non-profit association based in Leiria. Its mission is to promote the right of children to play. Playing is essential to the physical, emotional and intellectual health of children and helps them develop into efficient, well-balanced adults.
The financial support from the UEFA Foundation for Children will assure the training, mentoring programme and part of the material needed for the play groups – all vital aspects for the implementation of the project.
Brincar de Rua started as a pilot project to test security issues, community activation processes, training strategies, technology issues and communication strategies. The results of this first step were excellent:
- the demand to participate in the programme exceeded the number of places available by almost five times;
- a lot of volunteers were ready to get involved in the project;
- 20 local partners were mobilised to help out with tasks such as community activation and project dissemination;
- the project received good media coverage and engagement through the organisation’s website and social networks.
The positive perceptions of the project led to the development phase of the programme – preparation of all training content, strategies and methodologies, production of a training manual and establishment of the recruiting process protocol. Promotional campaigns, events, an exhibition and a round table about the importance of play and children in the city will involve local partners such as parents’ associations.
The Brincar de Rua model is a global programme that can be implemented in different places.
- create around 190 play groups across 11 Portuguese cities,
- provide the facilities to involve 2,300 children in free-play activities,
- create awareness of the importance of play, targeting 40 schools and more than 300 first to fourth-grade teachers,
- lobby the local authorities in order to encourage play-promoting policies and initiatives, including the right for children to use public spaces and to play in total safety;
- help to change the mentality of school directors and teachers, promoting the inclusion of free play in the day-by-day routine of Portuguese schools,
- help to change the habits of Portuguese families
- create new informal play groups outside the Brincar de Rua grid;
- train more than 300 volunteers (potential community leaders) and 30 future trainers/ mentors to ensure the natural replication of new play groups,
- encourage the involvement of local people in parallel pro-community activities;
– Stimulate active and free play for children without the presence of digital games and devices
– Provide the municipalities and the neighbourhoods with an engaging programme that stimulates active and healthy behaviours and encourages community participation
– Lay the foundations for a new training methodology for volunteers based on online training and informal peer to peer training.
- increase in the number of free and active play hours for the children;
- increase in the number of physical activities per child (sport, outdoor activities, play activities with other children;
- reduction in the number of screen hours of children (TV, digital games, etc.) four hours less a week (about 20% reduction);
- increase in the number of hours of physicial activities in families – one more hour a week;
- reduction in the number of overweight children by 10%;
- increase in the number of activities organised by the programme leaders in their neighbourhoods – at least 20% of the play groups should organise or be involved in the organisation of one parallel activity in their community.
Other expected results:
Scientific dissemination of the importance of free play:
- 22,000 families impacted through activities in schools and 40,000 people through regional media coverage;
- 2,200 people directly involved in the dissemination activities;
- 300 teachers, school directors and other education professionals involved in the seminars.