Playrooms for rural schools

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Playrooms for rural schools : Estrategia educativa didáctica

Pichanal, Orán, Tartagal, Mollinedo, ArgentinaSalta, Argentina
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The "Sembrando Alegría" project, had already created eight playgrounds of expression and learning that enable the development of cognitive, social and emotional abilities of children in social and academic rural areas of the province of Salta vulnerability.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the children did not have time or space to play?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The target population consists mostly of natives and wichi and Guarani ethnic groups have the following characteristics: lack of emotional support and cognitive stimulation are traversed by antisocial behaviors such as, drugs, alcoholism, crime, negatively impacting them, generating learning problems, lack of motivation and Self stem. Rural schools are multi-grade, and poor.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The proposed solution is to make more attractive rural schools that are a real space to contain children in rural areas. It aims to improve learning by promoting playgroups, educational games spaces where teachers fail to connect with each child. Already managed to install eight (8) different playgrounds in rural schools and 20 teachers were trained. One of the schools requested permission so the children can borrow a tow per week and take it home, since they don't have toys to share with their siblings. We are testing this second stage at the playgrounds.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In 2013 we purchased toys for 8 playgrounds (one shared by four small schools that are very close). This year we deliver the playgrounds at schoolhouses and train teachers to learn to teach playing. The education team of the foundation makes monthly visits to small schools and evaluates project implementation. The face of the children in the toy giveaway event was amazing! Some wanted to take the toys home, where they don't have, which motivates us to strengthen this project with more toys. Additionally, we awoke interest for teachers to make toys by recycling disposable materials such as bottles, cans, etc., so that each child can invent their own toys.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

So far, the project benefited eleven schoolhouses, twenty teachers and 300 children using toys. Improvements are noted in learning numbers and letters, but especially the emotional bond created between students and student-teacher is reinforced: learn to share, play together, be creative, imagine, regulate the times of the game, they are learning from childhood that stand through games. In addition, sports equipment that allowed teachers to work about the game, the team and other important values such as health was delivered. Through soccer equipment, small schools joined the Global Meeting of soccer organized by Rural Community Network.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We are seeking to replicate this project in twenty-five other rural schools where we are working from the Foundation. While there are some schools that have received State material for forming playgroups, teachers received no training or follow up on their use, therefore, we seek strengthen the government's program to complement our tracking and toys for small schools that don't have any. Besides in some small schools is necessary to expand the space for play and sports areas, putting for example soccer arcs and playground equipment from recycled material.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The first funds for the project were achieved with a grant from the United States Embassy in Argentina. Manos Abiertas seeks funds to buy toys and then with donations from local businesses is able to finance the monthly monitoring fees and the trainers. It is not yet defined in plan to expand and create new playgrounds, work projects as required by each school.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The provincial government, through the Ministry of Education, gave years ago Toys to some small schools, but teachers were not trained to use them, so we detected some schoolhouses with toys stored. Our main difference is that we make a monthly visit for one year to each school that has one of our playroom to evaluate the use of teachers and the impact on children.

Founding Story

Manos Abiertas Salta has a team of education since 2011, which visits and accompanies rural schools with various projects in vulnerable communities. With the program Sembrando y Soñando we reached over 25 schoolhouses, in four departments in the province of Salta, over 500 teachers and more than 9,000 children. We want this project to prove its impact on representative values to be replicated in other provinces and supported with funding by the Ministry of Education


The team has the direction of the president of the foundation and educator, Alicia Cuenya de Lemos. It consists of four professionals who work part-time three educational psychologists and history teacher.
About You
Fundación Manos Abiertas - Sede Salta
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Fundación Manos Abiertas - Sede Salta

How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

Organization Country

, A, Salta

Country where this project is creating social impact

, A, Pichanal, Orán, Tartagal, Mollinedo

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?



Recognition of Banco Galicia-Chacra Magazine was received in August 2014.

Primary Target Age Group

3 - 5, 6 - 12.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free).

Intervention Focus


Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Actively Designing Space & Culture as Essential Elements for Learning: Creating cost-effective methods to infuse a school with habits, language, and materials needed for learning through play.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Whole child development is undervalued: Essential parts of development get left behind as children get older, such as healthy habits, executive function, and social and emotional learning.


How do we put together a network of coordination of projects to provide toys to playgroups already formed?


We can share our experience to be replicated in other areas / schools.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

It is expected that meaningful learning through the playroom:

- Improve school performance.
- Leads to greater retention of children in school.
- Collaborate in socialization among peers and adults.
- Develop creativity, self-esteem and leadership.
- A reduction in child labor.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

The playroom Project activities are conducted in educational institutions that were benefited, the frequency of visits for this project were three yearly for two years with an estimated time of 4 hrs. each visit. The use of playgroups is in charge of teachers trained by the staff of Open Hands. This project is implemented along with other such as Plan Reader, Educating Responsibility Inspiring Citizens, Congress edusol, etc.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

It is difficult to generalize in a worldwide scale, but now, there are 25 schools in the Province of Salta and more than 500 teachers willing to change and innovate the way of educating children. We reached 4% of the school population of salteña and increasingly our projects are sought both by teachers and by sponsoring companies Our proposal aims to resume training in values towards more cohesive communities.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Our educational projects aim to make the school an attractive place to learn, not only curriculum but also human values. Is not the same to learn the metric system by measuring a football and then playing and learning about the limits of the field thanks to the metric system, that sitting in a classroom. Doing a short audiovisual on a small rural school, we put it to the test with a 6-year-old city girl that said "I want to go to that school, it's more fun there." That's what we are looking for, especially for the most vulnerable children.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

The program Sembrando y Soñando is funded by sponsoring companies through their CSR programs invest in the education of the community in which they are found, this represents 70% of revenues. Another 20% refers to cooperation funds and 10% in-kind donations.

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

Open Hands (Manos Abiertas) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and self-governing. Is not intended to make money, but generate income with certain mission and if there is a balance it is reinvested in the mission of uplifting the most vulnerable through volunteer work. We also promote productive enterprises to generate employment and income for the beneficiary communities.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

The unrestricted funds are always invested in new projects that require an initial investment of the foundation but then are supported in the implementation by sponsors. The money would be used to expand the contents of program for secondary level.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Our first partnership is with the Ministry of Education of the Province without whom we would not have authorization to work in small schools. Then with Horacio Zorraquín Foundation to implement its Educating responsibility, and are currently also working with Publisher Logo and Consultant Eolic People among others. With all of them we develop projects.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Yes of course! We loved the project Albaro Maria Cristina Padilla. We would like to use your furniture to complement installed playgrounds, but also as a productive enterprise, making a resale of your products and earning money that will allow us to continue funding new playgrounds.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

What we would be doing better are partnerships with organizations that want to implement our program and projects. For the next ten years we wish to achieve implementation in at least 5 provinces of Argentina. With unlimited funds, surely we would achieve reaching all 23 provinces in 15 years and maybe neighboring countries.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

In 2013 we trained over 450 teachers from 25 educational institutions, and through them we reached over 8,500 vulnerable children in schools. This represents 4% of the educational community in the province of Salta. Other qualitative indicators are related to teachers' satisfaction with the program and demand for companies to implement new institutions.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

500 to 1,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Other (please specify)

Other (please specify)

We are evaluated by the Ministry of Education and we are managing an assessment from the University of Salta

Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:

Fewer than 10

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.