Salas de Vidro: Inside and beyond the glass rooms
The 'Inside and beyond the glass rooms' measure in Portugal aims to provide activities at grass route level to engage Roma children at pre-school level in school and to support their families. Activities are carried out in the open air - on the street so to speak. The idea is that there is an open and transparent link between the school, the children and their families. This measure is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of experts in partnership with the school.
The ‘Inside and beyond the glass rooms’ (Aquém e além das salas de vidro) measure started in 2009/10 as part of the development of pre-school education activities in Roma neighbourhoods. The idea is that the activities were undertaken in the ‘open air’ in the centre of the neighbourhood - as if in ‘rooms made of glass’. From the start, the key focus was on transparency. A multidisciplinary team was brought together and worked with children on a weekly basis to develop their competences, to involve families and to motivate them into enrolling in kindergarten. Transparency and openness was important to gain parents’ trust.
As part of the 2014/15 school year, there are currently two main activities in place:
- Inside the Glass Rooms: Educational sessions are held on the streets in the neighbourhood. These sessions aim to develop oral language competences (vocabulary and speech) of children under 3 years of age. They encourage the participation of mothers/grandmothers and are run in partnership with the local team of the National System of Early Childhood Intervention (made up of psychologists, therapists, social workers among others);
- Beyond the Glass Rooms: Weekly sessions are held in the kindergarten (3-5 year olds), promoted by the multidisciplinary team, involving the kindergarten staff and the children’s families.