Playground challenge – Los Albares School, Spain

The schoolyard of Los Albares is a spacious but empty place with a lot of unused space. For them, having students concerned about the environment has always been important. So when they decided to start their NEMESIS project, they decided to collectively modify this common space to combine learning, creative reuse and group work. Each group of students involved in the project made suggestions about what they wanted to build. The community decided a series of improvements that will be developed as small projects within the main one, the so-called  Playground Challenge: an organic vegetable garden, giant Twisters, a minigolf, a ping pong table… This year some new ones like the maths corner have been added. 

The second pilot: a jungle and social distance

Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic sadly interrupted their NEMESIS project. But fortunately, Los Albares hadn’t stopped. Moreover, now the majority of the school is involved in it. We have talked with Ana Echevarría, the headteacher, Verónica Gonzalo and Rosa Moscardó, from the teaching staff, about how they have managed and even expanded their project during these challenging times. 

In September, after the lockdown, when they came back to the school, the vegetable garden looked “like a jungle” after months of abandonment. The initial idea of the teachers was to drop out of the project. Even with the available safety measures, many teachers were frightened of returning to the project. But the students and families were unwilling to give up: the students asked a lot for their NEMESIS project and many parents commented that they missed going to the garden in the evenings. So they decided to resume the collabs: 

“The enthusiasm for improving our playground and our environment has not waned; on the contrary, it has spread to the whole school. This year all the pupils of the school are doing their bit to get to June with the projects finished. In March we had to stop, lock ourselves at home and stop playing with our classmates, but we have come back with a lot of strength and desire  to carry on with the projects.” – Ana, headteacher of Los Albares: 

In this new phase of the project, they will continue improving the schoolyard. Their aim is that next year pupils will have many more possibilities to play and that every year the pupils who form part of CEIP Los Albares will be in charge of maintaining and improving everything that is being built. Los Albares school has the advantage that its project takes place outdoors. Respecting the social distance, the project is progressing thanks to two weekly meetings: one in the morning, in which the pupils organise the work, and one outside school hours, in which the families come to school to work in their collective playground. Every Sunday they send messages via My Colegio App to all the parents about what they are going to do at the afternoon school meetings and those who are going to sign up beforehand. This helps new families to join as the project progresses. 

Community involvement and a special Christmas wish

The involvement of the teachers has been fundamental: teachers were asked if they wanted to join this second year and almost all of them signed up. Now almost the majority of the school teachers have joined NEMESIS. While last year many teachers collaborated in an indirect way (making sure students attended the meetings, collecting the info etc.), this year, all teachers are directly responsible for a project: working on it, measuring it, asking for help when needed, etc. 

So in December, they had a training for the teachers, pointing out what NEMESIS is and what is not, helping them to understand the leading role of the pupils, that they are the ones who make the decisions. Every Wednesday the representatives of each class have a meeting with Verónica Gonzalo, the coordinator of NEMESIS in Los Albares. Her story with NEMESIS is a curious one: 

“When the NEMESIS project was proposed in 2019, I was the only one in the school who didn’t want to participate. It seemed like too much work, and I totally dissociated myself. But I saw that many things I wanted to work on in the class were already being done in NEMESIS. I went from voting against being the coordinator.”

On Wednesdays, at break time, the representatives of each class, a girl and a boy, meet with Vero and tell them what they have done, how the project is going, what kind of help they need, and how they are going to ask for help. The groups exchange ideas with each other and help each other. They are informed about what they have done on Tuesday afternoon in the afternoon meetings. They record the meetings and send minutes to the teachers. 

Rosa Moscardó, another teacher who at first did not want to take part in NEMESIS, has also ended up being a key player in the development of the project. She is a religion teacher, and has handed over part of her classes so that the students can carry out NEMESIS: 

“I decided to get involved in NEMESIS because the school is very happy with the project, the children are very excited, I think it’s great that the students decide how they want to live and what they like, but I was worried about whether we were going to take care of everything that was being created.”

She liked the idea of looking after the school as if I was their home: doing things, but with a commitment to look after them on the part of the children. Once a month, they use the religion class to give the students the opportunity to explain what they have done, what they have failed to do, and what they would like to do. The rest of the month, students give her small updates on how they are progressing. On Tuesday afternoons families, pupils, teachers and experts meet in order to carry out the tasks that cannot be done during school hours. They come with their kids. Anna comments that they enjoy meeting their teacher in an environment outside the classroom. 

“There are days when we have even up to twelve primary school children working. One girl asked for gloves for her Christmas gift to be able to work in the vegetable garden. Now they are finishing the mini-golf, when we finish with the project we will have a party to open it.” Says Ana. 

For Los Albares school, one of the most important things about NEMESIS and social innovation education is that it is a collective learning process. According to Ana, teachers usually have a problem and that is that many times when they talk about projects, they talk about results, while what differentiates NEMESIS from other projects is that it is a collective and collaborative learning process, in which the entire community is integrated. They have focused their project on improving the schoolyard, but always keeping in mind that it is not the main objective of the project, but what the students will learn during its development. And during its development, the students have discovered that they have the right to give their opinion, to decide and to act. 

Barrios con Latido – IES Pedro de Luna, Spain

The Pedro de Luna school in Zaragoza and the students of the Capacity Development programme are working on a project called ‘Barrios con Latido’ (Neighbourhoods with a heartbeat). The objective of this project is to create emotional ties between teenagers and their neighbourhood.

The project reflects on the weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities of the neighbourhoods we live in and of the people, spaces and street furniture that integrate them. The emotional ties that are created with everything around us mean that they become part of our lives and make us aware that we need to take care of them… We want teenagers to become more sensitive to this and be the drivers for change.

Phase 1 : Come up with the project goals

For this part, we counted on the help of CADI (Industrial Design Centre of Aragon). The framework was the result of the ideas that we will tackle long-term and short-term. This is divided into four blocks:

• I give you a moment
• Will you give me a smile?
• I need you to take care of me
• Points of interest and places with possibilities

Phase 2: Implement the ideas

These ideas are translated into activities such as:
A) Meeting members of the community by interviewing citizens, shopkeepers, cleaners… A very enriching activity for our students. Another activity was to ask if they knew certain important spaces in the neighbourhood. 
B) Generational Interchange. We visited ‘La Magdalena’ retirement home. Meeting the residents through a series of interviews was very emotional. There were also various activities carried out, such as drawing and writing Christmas cards. ‘Ni un peluche sin abuelo’ (no plush toy without a grandparent) was one of the activities. Our students brought a very special gift: a cuddly plush toy. There were many pending ideas we have yet to make a reality but there are high hopes.

‘BARRIOS CON LATIDO’ of solidarity

How many times have we heard that young people don’t participate, don’t get involved, don’t show solidarity? So many that we have become discouraged in facing important challenges in society such as justice and equality, overwhelmed by the grandeur of these words. We are better at understanding concrete actions that fight against poverty or discrimination, in a daily, tangible and consistent way.

This is what sparked the motivation to set out the project II Concurso IES Pedro de Luna para proyectos sociales de oenegés (IES Pedro de Luna competition for social projects for NGOs), in Education for Citizenship class. The intention was to make the students more conscious of the inequalities present in our society and our world and show them how many people work to eliminate these inequalities. We also intend to encourage a more collaborative, less self-centred, attitude, so they become more conscious of the importance of their actions.

This project consists of various phases:

1) Fundraising: We gave ourselves the first objective of raising €500 for the competition prize. Initially, all of the students believed this would be impossible. But when they set out to tell the community about their idea, they were surprised to see that a few establishments wanted to collaborate. Another fundraising idea was a flea market, where teachers and students brought books, clothes, plants, jewellery, shoes, bags etc. to be sold. Everyone in the area threw themselves in, buying objects, but above all they were interested because of what the students wanted to achieve. As a result over €600 was raised!

2) Contact with the NGOs: In this phase, the student body learned how an NGO functions and got in contact with them to invite them to participate in the competition.

3) Award the prize: This phase has yet to be carried out this year. NGOs all over Spain showed us the reality of the difficult situations in various parts of the world. For example, last year’s winner, TADEH, showed us the problems faced in finding water in Senegal, and we felt like part of the solution. With the money we raised we could build a well in one of the towns.
It’s the student body that will select the winner from the proposals. For this, they will need to decide some criteria, discuss which NGOs fit these criteria the best, and vote democratically on the winner. In the final vote, the teaching body of the school will be invited so that it is a whole school decision.

En Tu Piel – IES Valle del Huecha (Mallén)

This NEMESIS project came about due to a student in the school having a visual impairment. This student, as well as the other students of IES Valle del Huecha, recognised that there were certain difficulties faced while finding some things around the centre.

The first steps

First, Class 3 (14-15 year olds) had a brainstorming session to try and come up with ideas for their project. Then, together with Class 4 (15-16 year olds), they held an activity to get to know one another and share opinions in pairs. After these activities, they came to the conclusion that they wanted to create something interactive to improve the life of their classmate, and of people with audiovisual impairments in general. They searched for a dynamic and effective way of improving the experience of this particular student and any student or person who comes to the centre with audiovisual difficulties. The students and teachers involved in the project came up with the idea of creating a series of QR codes.

The project begins

The first thing they did was to try and put themselves in the shoes of the student in question to try and understand the difficulties she faced on a daily basis finding her way around the school. Next, they analysed accessibility issues faced by people with similar difficulties. Then, the students drafted an outline of all the routes that would be included in the project, which they would later record guides for, linked to the QR codes.

The next step was creating a soundproof room to record the audios and videos that would be linked to the QR codes. To do this, they divided the activities among the students: collect egg boxes, empty the chosen room and soundproof it! They also came up for a logo for their project.

NEMESIS project logo

The next steps

One group of students are to be assigned the task of managing the social media and the digital storytelling for the project. Also, letters will be written for the town hall, district, and media in the area to send out and invite anyone who wants to collaborate on the project.


The students, teachers and collaborating staff of the NEMESIS project meet on Fridays during the second break to discuss the project’s advancements. The teachers have been attending ongoing training to be able to help as best as possible in this project and have met weekly to discuss progress and ideas to improve the project. These ideas are then discussed in the Friday co-labs with the students.


If you would like to be the next school to join the team of NEMESIS schools please fill in our  contact form or email us at

If you would like to read more about our projects click here.

Are you a social innovator who would like to collaborate with the schools in your area? Click here for more info on how to become a mentor.

Joining Forces – Joaquín Costa School, Spain

The pupils of a school in Huesca, Joaquín Costa de Monzón, have been working on their project GREEN SCHOOL. This is an effort by the school community to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly environment within their campus. They endeavour to have a positive effect on waste management within the school and hope that the now more eco-conscious students will take their green practices with them wherever they go.

The OPERA teaching method

The project, while commendable in the current context of the climate crisis, is also innovative for another reason. The teachers, partners, and students involved used an interactive and alternative teaching method called OPERA. For readers already familiar with the NEMESIS project, the term OPERA may ring a bell. OPERA is a practice often invoked as part of the co-creation process. OPERA has become so integral to our collaborative way of developing projects that it has become a fixed part of the first co-creative laboratories that we set up in schools. In fact, it was the OPERA structure of teaching that encouraged this Huesca school to pursue their journey with NEMESIS.

OPERA is a five-step process of learning which encourages students to brainstorm and develop their own ideas. First, they come up with ideas by themselves (Own Thinking). Then, they exchange these ideas with other students they are partnered with (Pairs). The process continues with presentations given before the class who subsequently vote on what they have heard, ranking and arranging the ideas that the students would ultimately like to pursue. A truly democratic form of decision making. In the case of the GREEN SCHOOL project at least, OPERA has proved to be a fruitful and eye-opening learning method.

Joining forces with NEMESIS

While the school initiated the project on their own, they have decided to join us as they endeavour to take their project further. They announced this decision to join forces with NEMESIS on Twitter:

We have joined the NÉMESIS project! This European Project uses different practices to make improvements at a social level. Its formula: actively make deals and decisions that are agreed on by the student body. For this reason, it fits in perfectly with our overall goal to save the environment. In this way, we are all taking action in our Greenschool Project in a more active way than ever before.”

First NEMESIS Co-Creation labs

As part of the first phase of their NEMESIS Green School project, teachers and students held a meeting. Here, they distributed notebooks with the guidelines for the project, checking that all items were agreed upon in the ‘Environmental Constitution’. Two tasks were assigned to each class involved:

1. Come up with the best possible placement for their Environmental Constitution posters, so that it could be seen.
2. Brainstorm ideas to store reusable tupperwares and wrappers during lunch, to reduce plastic waste at lunchtime.

They held another meeting to exchange and compare ideas with the NEMESIS Green team representatives. Here, children on the Green team, teachers, the principal, and a member of the school board also voted on the new Green School Logo.

In their next meeting they will collect suggestions from families and the educational community, and decide on the right format for future co-creation labs.

Given the impressive entrepreneurial initiative that the school has demonstrated so far, we have no doubt that they will be a perfect match for our network of innovative teams. We welcome them with open arms into the project and expect to see great strides within their school, both in terms of the environment and the community in general.

If you would like to be the next school to join the team of NEMESIS schools please fill in our  contact form or email us at

If you would like to read more about our projects click here.

Are you a social innovator who would like to collaborate with the schools in your area? Click here for more info on how to become a mentor.

Point of Departure – IES El Batán

Social innovation projects are emerging all around Europe: from the Common Bank of Knowledge in Seville to the Social Innovation Community at the international level. Simultaneously, feminism is taking a centre stage as a social movement and inside the political agenda. Gender equality and social innovation approaches have a lot in common: from the overcome of social injustice to the crucial role of citizenship’s power. Most of the feminist organizations are making social innovation without knowing it.

So what happens when we give students the opportunity to work in both fields? Point of Departure is a social innovation project created by students of the Aesthetics and Beauty VET Track at IES El Batán, located in Mieres (Spain). The main goal is to raise awareness about gender violence among adolescents.

How did this group of girls tackle this challenge? In a first diagnosis phase to distinguish causes and effects, the students began examining the problem as a tree with many branches and roots.

The next step was to combine their skills as special effects make-up and professionals with the idea of ​​the project and seek collaboration so the message could reach as many people as possible. They applied make-up to transform themselves into gender violence victims.

To communicate the project, the group produced the following video, that went viral in a few days. Their project was featured in the regional newspaper, “La Nueva España” and on the regional TV channel. The video was made following our Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling (the guide will be uploaded soon).

Currently, the girls’ group is working on a new video. They are also preparing a workshop for the children of the Felechosa Primary School. 

Go to the project webpage

Go to the school webpage

Mieres (Spain)

The project is made thanks to the the support of many contributors: the school, Valnalón and all NEMESIS project partners, people from the local women’s shelter and support centres, Silvia and Paloma, two promoters of Gender Equality, monitors and kids from the El Camín Youth Association, the Association against domestic violence, students and faculty of IES Sanchez Lastra Secondary School, the City Council of Mieres, Felechosa and Campomanes Primary Schools and the Teis de Vigo Secondary School.

Do you want to contact this school? Write to ivan[at]

New playground – Los Albares School

Los Albares is a colourful, spacious school in La Puebla de Alfindén, a small village near Zaragoza (Spain). Being a fairly new facility, they have a very big schoolyard but a rather empty one i.e. a lot of free space which is left unused.

For years, teachers and students alike made suggestions – a garden! a playground! – but to no avail. That is, until the tools and inspiration from NEMESIS helped them to turn their ideas into reality: They will now work collaboratively with one another to build their new playground.

Map of the planned activities

Participatory methodologies are used to gather the ideas of each group of students (16 classes, 350 children from 6 to 12 years old). Then, two representatives of each class meet at break time to put those ideas into action. Ten other students also go to the co-creation lab together with parents, teachers, members of the municipality and some local innovators (around 20 people in total).

From the collaborative work and discussion that has been carried out so far, the community have decided they want to build a vegetable garden, a tire circuit, a minigolf course, and tracks for boules and datchball (a local, friendly version of dodgeball) , all using recycled materials.

This process is still ongoing, but it is now more focused on the practicalities. Co-creation labs happen once a week and the feedback between all participant is constant (student’s representatives make sure everything discussed goes back to the classes, where students can voice their concerns, contributions and general feedback for the project in an open and supportive setting).

Collaboratively designing games for the playground

Check their twitter account
Go to the school webpage

La Puebla de Alfindén, Zaragoza (Spain)

Number of students
350 students from 6 to 12 years old

Members of co-creation lab
Students’ representatives
Members of the municipality

Collectives, social innovators, entrepreneurs, business… contacted
La Puebla de Alfindén Town Hall
Universidad de Zaragoza
Hotel Alfinden
Neumáticos Clavijo