Parliament of Students creates giant games in the playground – EB1 of Gueifães, Portugal
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Parliament of Students creates giant games in the playground – EB1 of Gueifães, Portugal

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On the 30th of June the playground of the EB1 of Gueifães was inaugurated, a space covered by countless games that will delight the children and students of this school. This ceremony was attended by the Principal of Maia´s School Cluster, Rui Duarte, the president of the Parish Council, Olga Rodrigues and the vice president of the Municipality and councilor for the Education and Health department, Emília Santos, to whom it was the honor of cutting the ribbon that opened this playground.

The paintings in the playground are the result of the project called Parliament of Students from EB1 de Gueifães, started in April, having as members the delegates and sub-delegates of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year classes. These 21 deputies met weekly, by videoconference, at 11 am, 1 hour per week.

As for the work done, the deputies started by asking for improvement proposals, together with their classes, in response to the question “What could we do to make people happier in our school space?” A synthesis of these proposals was made, which was discussed with the deputies and followed the voting (in a google form).

Thus, the proposal most voted for by the deputies (with 15 votes) and in which we started to work on was” Painting games on the playground floor”. Subsequently, each deputy presented their game proposal, identifying the dimensions, the necessary material and the rules of the game to the Parliament. The members of the Parliament analyzed and voted on every proposal, presenting suggestions of improvement or pointing out aspects considered relevant. For instance, regarding the Monkey Game and the Rooster Game, deputies pointed out that having only one would cause some conflicts because they are games they really like, and that is the reason why we have 3 of the first and 4 of the second. They also mentioned the fact that games should not be painted near the buildings to allow students to chat or run…So many relevant proposals and choices…

There is a Padlet Parliamentary diary* in Portuguese where anyone can consult the minutes of Parliament sessions, the proposals presented, their synthesis, the results of the voting, the documents with the information of the games and more.

As we needed help to start implementing what was intended, this Parliament invited an educator, a 1st grade teacher, a 2nd grade parent representative, a 3rd grade teacher, a 4th grade parent representative, the president of the Parents’ Association, a member of the Parish Council and a member of the Municipality to be present at the Co-creation laboratory, during the Parliamentary session where the deputies had the opportunity to present a synthesis of each ones proposal, listen to the opinion of the guests and ask them for help to collect the necessary material.

All the materials were obtained, as well as all the permissions from the municipality, and the deputies, their families and collaborators started painting the playground floor. First we started working on Saturdays. Students were divided in small groups and could bring one of their parents to assist them. They had to disinfect hands and shoes, wear masks and keep their distance from each other. And it was not that simple to wear mask while drawing and painting on the floor when the weather started to warm up. In June, there were two weeks of daily painting and preparation of the materials that accompany the games, and everything was concluded at the end of June. The deputies thought they should have a moment to be able to try and enjoy the games and that was how the idea of doing a ceremony to inaugurate the space and then try it out came about. This moment happened on Tuesday, the 30th of June, where the students were honored in a small ceremony and their hard work was recognized. After that, they enjoyed the space with their families for a couple of hours.

In the evaluation of  these few months of this NEMESIS project, students mention as the most positive point the fact that they were able to make their own decisions and that these were respected. Maria Soares, the representative from the 4th grade, class 11, said that “it was a lot of work but it was worth it”, valuing the “immense teamwork” and emphasizing that what most involved her was “the debate of ideas and the fact she could choose”.

The representative from the 3th grade, class 7, referred that “in the Parliament students decided what was best for the school and then put it in practice”.

Parents also pointed out the fact that students really felt their opinions mattered and that they could make their own decisions.

The Education councilor highlighted that she “wants the motto of all schools to be – to work on happiness”. And she urged parents to not want their “children to be a grade; they should first want them to feel happy at school, because, as for them, they will develop many values and many skills like creativity, a lot of personality and happiness. This is very important for them to become competitive adults in the global world”.

It is certain that the 400 children and students of our school will be happier to be able to enjoy this wonderful playground in the next school year.

And that was how we empowered the changemakers of today.

Aline Santos























*https://padlet .com/pt_alinesantos/Students’Parliament – password Parliament