Sementinha Project (Little Seed) – Year 2


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CPCD is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in the year of 1984, in the city of Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, by Tião Rocha, an educator and anthropologist. CPDC was created to act in Popular Quality Education and Sustainable Community Development, using Culture as a raw material and as a pedagogical and institutional working tool.

Its mission is to be a permanent learning institution in the fields of Education and Development, using Culture as raw material and as an action tool.

Since 1984, CPCD strives to implement and accomplish innovative projects, integrated programs and Social Transformation and Sustainable Development platforms, which are intended for communities and cities with less than 50.000 residents where 90% of the Brazilian population lives.

CPCD and Fundação ABH partnered up to initiate the Projeto Sementinha in Chácara Santo Amaro (Grajaú district) in the city of São Paulo, São Paulo State.

When building a Healthy Community seeds are spread in many directions.

In a territory formed by children, young adults, women, families with accumulated knowledge, dreamed dreams and available potential, possibilities are diverse and promising.

One of the possibilities is to mobilize mothers and along with them assist their small children with the participation of the entire community.

From that moment on, the territory worth is recognized, cultural memories are revived, values are reaffirmed, bridges are built and changes occur.

Sementinha Project (also known as “The school under the mango-tree”) is a pre-school educational initiative, intended for kids between the age of 4 and 5, who were not assisted by public or private schools. This project began in Curvelo, Minas Gerais State, in 1984, to assist children in need. After that, the project was developed in Araçuaí/MG, São Francisco, MG, Porto Seguro/BA, Santo André/SP and Pinheiro/MA and, more recently, in Chácara Santo Amaro/SP!

The project goals are as follows:

  • To create a new teacher-and-student concept;
  • To build an innovative education practice.

To achieve these goals a methodology was developed in order to:

  • foster “dialogue” as a moderator in relationships among participants
  • prioritize respect for individual differences
  • value individual know-how
  • seek collective and educational solutions for all issues experienced by the participants
  • build an open, plural and democratic education
  • transform every occupied environment into a “school” and every “school” into a “community culture center”

In short, Sementinha Project can be defined as:

  • School-environment is the neighborhood;
  • School-content is the community culture;
  • An educator is everyone who participates in the educational process.


Impact in 2016:

Qualitative indicators:

  • Interested, participative and happy children
  • Children caring about organizing their living space
  • Clear enjoyment of children in participating in school activities
  • Mothers and residents who offer to do workshops in their homes
  • Institutions interested in partnering with Sementinha
  • Interest of Vila do Sapo residents in new technologies. The village had its name changed to Vila das Flores,
  • Participation of residents in the proposed activities
  • New residents getting involved in the actions
  • Weekly circles with educators for reflection and modification of environments
  • Good responsiveness of some residents who opened their doors
  • Identification of new light points
  • Partners effectively involved in the project actions
  • Neighbors closer to each other


Quantitative indicators:

  • 103 children assisted
  • 69 children assisted directly at school
    • 49 first grade children
    • 20 sixth grade children
  • 34 children assisted directly in the community
  • 25 families assisted directly
  • 37 hours of various training
  • 66 workshops for children and their families (fabric painting, games and toys, ground paint, Community greengrocers and cleaning supplies, homemade medication, puppets)
  • 20 earth paint backyard environments and permaculture practices ( mandalas, embroideries, planting of seedlings, herbal spiral, tire garden)
  • 3 storytelling
  • 34 different types of playful activities developed daily
  • 8 merry-go-round
  • 9 types of medicinal herbs found with properties advertised and used during workshops
  • 8 new earth colors captured
  • 10 puppets produced
  • 25 reading mediations
  • 6 workshops of learning games
  • 1 mini nursery
  • 6 games used with neighborhood school teachers
  • 2 games played with the first years classes: Affection and Letter Opening
  • 4 movie sessions
  • 150 earth paint cards


“Sementinha School differs from all other schools. It is the most beautiful thing in the neighborhood. Children talk to us about everything, they don’t learn only the alphabet, they learn about life and their ideas are evolving. Sementinha is not like other schools, where a black person is an outcast, standing in the corner and a white or a rich person is the best. Here, the dirty, the outcast and the black kid are all embraced, we are all equals.” (Maria Geralda Gomes, a 44-year-old mother from Itasa neighborhood, São Francisco, Minas Gerais State.)


“In our home, we have a good family interaction and the project contributes to making it increasingly better. My daughter was shy and now she has loosened up, and I have started to give her more attention. She tells me that her class is united and that she enjoys participating in everything. I get very involved with the project, I state my opinions and I always attend the meetings.” (Maria D’ajuda Nunes, a 40-year-old mother from Gravatá II, a neighborhood in Porto Seguro, Bahia State.)


“My son has changed a lot. He was very aggressive towards his brothers and would not stay home. Now he is calm and even enjoys teaching his brothers what he learns in the project, he is more obedient and, most importantly, he learned how to be polite to others. I know that in the project children have a lot of opportunities to learn how to live in society and how to become more civilized. In the future, I hope my son has more friendships, love and freedom.” (Maria de Jesus Silva, a 38-year-old mother from Gravatá II neighborhood, in Porto Seguro, Bahia State.)


“Things are discussed and solved taking into account limits and difficulty levels. All alternatives are tried and analyzed, seeking to improve the level of comprehension and quality of life. The coordinators are tireless when searching for solutions to problems. Even when they are personal problems, as soon as they are brought up, they become objects of discussion in the search for solutions.

The project opened up a range of possibilities for the team which are being used and have not yet been exhausted. The willingness to overcome all obstacles makes this team a never-ending source of courage.

My relationship with the children is great. When I arrive at the meeting point or anywhere else, the children run and hug me.” (Vânia Lucia Coutinho, Coordinator for the Projeto Sementinha Porto Seguro, Bahia State.)


“The change project makes in the lives of the children and the community is that they start to value what they do and relate much better to each other. In addition, everything we do is creative and there is a lot of concern in finding new ideas and playful activities; everything that can make the project to become more interesting. I give my all to come up with new ideas and sometimes I feel like I am the owner of the project because everything I do for it is to the benefit of seeing it improve and growing.” (Elisângela do Santos Gomes, an educator of Projeto Sementinha in Porto Seguro, Bahia State.)


“Beauty is not prominence in our work. The life inside is what matters, inner beauty and good deeds. If we produce something beautiful with willingness and dedication, then it must be valued. The project produces truly beautiful things from recyclable materials. The project bestows the poor individual the value he has, teaching him self-respect and showing the true value of things. The project needs interested and skilled people that like what they do, so that it can develop and grow.” (Vandelina, an educator of Projeto Sementinha Porto Seguro, Bahia, State.)


“I think everything you do is important. These children would wander around the streets without any supervision, but now I know that they are with you. I don’t worry because I know they are learning a lot.” (Onofre Batista Cruz, a 56-years-old father from Vila Vicentina, in São Francisco, Minas Gerais State.)


“Over time we came to know each child´s home, through tea and school meal time. Every mother willingly participates; they talk in the circle and the children feel comfortable wherever we are.” (Geane Gomes de Araújo, an Educator of Bairro Bandeirantes from São Francisco, Minas Gerais State.)


“We grow, because the project stirs us up all the time.” (Marciene Chaves Lima, Educator, Bairro Aparecida from São Francisco, Minas Gerais State)


“My kids feel they own the project, they are cheerful and say that when the project is happening it is very good… that the coordinators treat them in a loving way; this is good because, in the past, teachers used to be aggressive when teaching the children.


Teachers from the project teach with love. My daughters are changing and for the best. My dream is to throw a party for children of the Sementinha as a thank you for all the good the project has done for my family.”(Nivaldo, a 41-year-old father, Bairro Gravatá I from Porto Seguro, Bahia State.)


These testimonies refer to other Sementinha Projects in different places around Brazil, because Sementinha Project / Chácara Santo Amaro was just launched and did not have its own testimonies at that time.