Sementinha Project (Little Seed) – Year 3


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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.


Project Evolution:

The year 2017 was full of learning, motivating actions, community involvement, partnership with health and local education and good surprises!

It was a surprise to discover how two communities in the same neighborhood, so close to each other (São Nicolau and Vila do Sapo), could react so differently to the opportunities presented by the project and to the initiatives that indicated benefits for the young children and residents of these two locations.

When Sementinha’s work began at the end of 2015, the direction given by the UBS’s management and community health agents was to initiate training and implement actions in the areas near the main bus stop, the more established trade, the residents’ association, the state school and UBS itself.

The challenge was great given the poor involvement of the residents in the training, the distrust with those who were coming from outside and the resistance of some residents who did not want their children and grandchildren moving along the neighborhood. Likewise, the actions were experimented and developed in four communities: Vila da Paz, Vila do Sapo (which changed its name to Vila das Flores during the project), an alley near the home of a local leadership and a Parada Obrigatória.

Due to the difficulty of approaching the children, the team decided to approach the places where the children were already located. The team was then introduced to the State School Hermínio Sachetta. The first proposal was to engage some methodologies in the school together the teachers, such as the Games Pack (Bornal) and then to develop several weekly activities with the first graders. The team was soon invited to work with the 6th grade children who were facing the greatest difficulties in school. In 2017 activities expanded for the children of the 2nd grade and for activities that involve the whole school.

As a consequence, as the team presented itself, new partnerships with other entities were introduced and Sementinha Project became recognized and respected. Following came the invitation to form a Local Network with the school, UBS, CCA and the subsequent involvement in community meetings and actions such as the School Fair and the Oasis Project.

The process was very significant for our permanence and rooting in the community!

In the Vila do Sapo the work involved residents with permaculture actions, with paintings of the houses walls with earthen paint and vegetable garden in the backyards, and even movie sessions in the street.

But there was still the biggest challenge: to have the direct access to the children where they really lived. After a year of the project, in an evaluation and planning meeting with the new UBS manager, as we discussed about the community where most children lived and that had the hardest needs, she spoke about the places covered by the team, where there were many difficulties, including family violence. The recommendation was that the team should not go alone, but rather accompanied by UBS professionals. This soon happened and as a result they found out the existence of communities in the region without any municipal equipment but that, at first glance, revealed several luminous points.

Challenges were slowly and slowly being remedied. The health workers introduced themselves to residents and religious leaders of the São Nicolau community, who soon opened environments for training and even a meeting place with children. These groups were very excited and wanted to participate in the training along with the children. They envisioned the Sementinha Project as a generator of opportunities and development for the neighborhood children. It was a desire and collective thought: “I need to take care of my child and of the other children in the neighborhood.”

So the activities started in São Nicolau with direct assistance to the children, at first in the homes of the local residents and, after, as the interest and potential was validated, a place to serve as headquarter was rented. The project headquarters made a big difference; people finally saw that the Project was real and more children and curious people came to know and contribute with something.

The UBS team requested a meeting at the headquarters, so that all staff including two nurses was introduced to the project. At this meeting other ACS were interested in taking the project to their areas of action, where many children live.

The target for 2018 is to provide assistance with two more groups. Acceptance of the community and the desire to expansion are evidenced by the presence of children, families and local partners in meetings, celebration events – Children’s Day, Year Closing and by the commitment of health workers to expand the project.

On a daily basis, one can notice the significant changes in the children who at first did not play and resisted even to sit around and listen to the others.

We could see sadness in some children eyes and this touched and motivated the team to give affection. As a result, opportunities for transformation and good coexistence were created.

Gradually educators gained the trust and complicity of some children who brought other children along. Conversations carried out on the circle became a tool for resolving conflict situations instead of fighting. The educators themselves reported how they now see their neighborhood in a new way. They have learned and developed this careful and respectful look at where they live and at their children.

The Games Pack (Bornal) has brought evident transformations in the learning of the children, as much in relation to the coexistence and affection with the neighbor as in writing and mathematics. Some children had difficulty on correctly spelling their name and today they want to be the first to sign the attendance list. It is worth mentioning the great interest in mathematical games, which are among the favorites!

Activities related to recycling make an impact on the craftsmanship introduced by educators on the production of toys and games as it develops skills and creativity in children handling the trash. Both educators and children enforce the care for the space and objects and encourage the notion of collective ownership.

In this way the Sementinha Comunidade Educativa is spreading, rooting and giving fruits in the region!


Impact in 2017:

Qualitative indicators:

  • Recognition of Sementinha Comunidade Educativa by the neighborhood and regions
  • Request made by Hermínio Sachetta State School to resume activities in 2017
  • Team committed to work
  • Team with a broader view of Sementinha impact in the neighborhood and how the project can be a learning opportunity and people training generator
  • Good relations with partners; respect and expansion of local partnerships
  • Extension to new area of the most populated neighborhood with support and validation by UBS
  • Agents and women are highly welcomed in the São Nicolau and Novo São Norberto neighborhoods
  • Request made by Hermínio Sachetta State School to carry out activities with other grades
  • Continuous partnership with UBS agents
  • Reception of local churches in São Nicolau
  • Participation in community events
  • Children interested and improving their learning from the use of games
  • Increasing interest of children in reading

Quantitative indicators:

  • 1 headquarter for the Project established in the month of August 2017
  • 6 community meetings with the St. Nicholas and the Novo San Norberto Communities (52 participants)
  • 2 network meetings in Chácara Sto. Amaro
  • 25 houses painted with earthen paint
  • 20 houses with Permaculture practice (Vila das Flores)
  • 3 movie sessions featuring Divertida Mente, Moana and Pipo Fifi films (60 participants)
  • 20 team meetings with continuing education
  • 1 training conducted by Tião Rocha (32 hours)
  • 204 workshops with children (Jd. São Nicolau and Chácara Sto. Amaro)
  • 12 games: Tower of Hanoy, Matrix, Spelling, Damática, Quick, Memory Match with leaves, Match Sticks, Jigsaw Puzzle Game
  • 35 survey of children’s names for the new Sementinha group – Novo São Norberto
  • 1 mandala garden at the Hermínio Sachetta State School
  • 120 children assisted – 40 participants from 04 to 09 grades in the Jd. São Nicolau and 80 children at the Hermínio Sachetta State School
  • 40 gardens made by using old tires
  • 10 reading pockets
  • 152 books received as donation
  • 25 Playful activities and merry-go-round: Velho Trem, Coelhinho Sai da Toca, Quem é o Maestro, Elefante Colorido, Pula Corda, Passa Anel, Boneca de Lata, Tocar o Cego, Ciranda, Serpente, Passarás, Rala Côco, Vó Chica, Tic-Tac, Pom, Queimada, Vampiro-Vampirão, Corre Cotia, Mãe da Rua, Duro-Mole, Esconde-Esconde, Onde Está, Com Quem Está, Carteiro, Melancia, De Abóbora Faz Melão, Futebol
  • 4 community events: Oasis, Cultural Fair and CCA Sarau
  • 8 OASIS planning meetings – Solidarity Day
  • 2 community workshops: Preparation of ointment, syrup and taioba cake
  • 1 workshop with teachers of São Norberto Daycare (24 participants)
  • 20 books read and discussed
  • 40 seedlings of homemade medication and flowers produced by the children and planted in their homes
  • 2 field trips to Sesc Vila Mariana and Ibirapuera – Performance by Ponto de Partida and Meninos de Araçuaí
  • 160 toys and embellishments produced by reusing material: Biboque, Comet Tail, Baragandão, Binoculars, Pet Purses, Cup Made Butterfly, Balloon Masks and Magazine, Rattle, Folders, Holder, Christmas Trees


“I was feeling really depressed at the time Patricia told me about the proposal to have the project here in the neighborhood. At first I did not want any responsibility, since I was already frustrated with the situation in my household. So my 9-year-old daughter told me how beautiful and important I am to her, because my depression was also due to my obesity problem. So I realize how difficult it was for her too because she had many responsibilities; she was mother, sister, daughter, all at the same time. When I started to be part of the project I realized how important I am, everything I do is valued! And children never care about me being fat or having short hair. And so I show what I know to the children and I’m also learning from them, and I’ve been discovering many things in the project, such as how important I am to myself and how much I can be helping other people. My gaze changed in the face of simple things, of which I valued nothing. Today I do not need the money to go out and have fun with my kids, all I need is to make some juice, get some fruit, go to the park and I spend the day with them. We play, I run without being ashamed of my body and I see the happiness of my children. Today my 9 year old daughter is a happy person; she helps me with suggestions for activities in the project; today she is a child! I no longer see myself as an obese person, I see myself as a point of light! I have much to do and learn!” Amanda Martins Fernandes (Educator)


“With the circle here in Sementinha, we are learning to show more respect to people!” Samuel Wellington da Silva – 08 years old


“I noticed Ana Clara’s behavior change when we returned from vacation. In that period she said that it was very difficult for her because she was already used to the routine of coming to the project. When we got back from the vacation she came different, more loving and friendly and wanting to help in everything, even cleaning the project premises. She organized the games without having to ask, then gave a message to the group saying that when they finish playing with the games they should keep it very well because, if you do not care, it ends up ruined. Now she is doing a lot of reading, especially with the countless comic books of Monica’s Gang that have been donated. She does not stop reading and encourages her colleagues, telling the stories and making everyone curious and looking to read the comics.” Amanda Martins Fernandes (Educator)


“I like it a lot here, I wanted to come every day, but sometimes my mother will not let me. I also like to invent, as I did yesterday when we made a carpet out of paper straws. Here I learned to share the toys, the snack and the books. I already taught two games to my brothers and friends at school – the tic-tac-pom-pom and the dead-alive. Yesterday I also learned another game, but I have to train the game Veil and Unveil. Then before we leave we make the circle to discuss the day, we do it every day!” Mariah Cláudia Oliveira Santos – Sementinha child


“I think the project is cool, I learn playful activities, there are so many things I’ve already learned, I think I’ve learned a few games, I still do not think much. I already taught how to make a little boat and a little paper bird. If I can I can teach people to make a paper flower, I just need a pen and a sheet, but I need to train a little because the first time I did it did not work very well. I just do not like to read, because I do not know how to read very well, but I am training with the new comic books. Another thing I do not like is going to school because there’s a lot of violence there.” Breno Diego Ferreira da Silva – Sementinha child


“I got to know the Project through Mariah, she told me that she was participating in a nice project, so my brother Bruno and I came to visit and we liked it. What I like best is to play, participate in activities and take book home, so I love the book pockets, because I love to read. I feel very happy when we can take the books home and then tell the story to people. I love helping, here in the project I’m always helping my aunt deliver the snacks, not only in here but outside the project I also help when my brother and Mariah fight and I help them to chill out. I created one of the most played activities here which is called jequiti-merry-go-round. My brother introduced the activity here and everyone is playing now. I do not like it when I talk and they do not listen to me, because when they speak I listen. If I could I would change the behavior of some children.” Natiely Ferreira da Silva – Sementinha child


“What I like most about Sementinha is playing. One of the activities that I liked the most was the tail of the comet, which I have until today and the pan support. The other day I asked all the kids to sort things out because it is not cool to leave a mess because I learned to be organized. I really like to read and what I like most is the comic books of Monica’s class. I also like Sementinha after school. I was sleeping and watching TV, I do not like to stay at home all day. But I’ve loved this Sementinha since the first day!” Ana Clara de Jesus Santos – Sementinha child