Training educators and municipalities in inclusive physical education
- Open Doors to Inclusion
- Rodrigo Mendes Institute
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South America
- In cooperation with
- Start Year
- First published
“We not only have to get out of the comfort zone but get others out of it. To think about inclusion is to think about our practices and our own disabilities.” Gilberto Junior, course participant from Maceió
Open Doors to Inclusion is a joint project of the Rodrigo Mendes (RM) Institute, a Brazilian NGO working on Inclusive Education, UNICEF, and the FC Barcelona Foundation. The project promotes the inclusion of students with disabilities in Brazilian schools by training educators and policy makers in inclusive physical education and related topics, such as accessibility regulations and the development of inclusive school projects. The Open Doors to Inclusion course has been delivered in person by Inclusive Education experts and made available online. More than 46,000 people attended the online course in 2018 and 2019.
Physical education is often one of the least inclusive school activities.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The RM Institute, UNICEF, and the FC Barcelona Foundation launched the in-person Open Doors to Inclusion course in 2013, during which Inclusive Education experts trained 450 teachers from the Brazilian cities that would be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Participants identify barriers to the inclusion of children with disabilities in their schools, and design and implement their own inclusive physical education activities involving staff, students, families, and the wider community. Participating policy makers from municipal Secretariats of Education assess local public education policies and propose improvements to the services offered to students with disabilities. As a result, several cities have taken actions focused on accessibility and Inclusive Education The in-person course was held from 2013 to 2016, reaching 16 Brazilian municipalities. In 2018 the online version was created Since then, the course has been used across all 26 Brazilian states.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Open Doors to Inclusion was first launched with funding from the FC Barcelona Foundation. Developing the online version of the course cost approximately $137,000, and the RM Institute has established an endowment fund to finance future course developments, which is supported by the US-based investment firm JP Morgan Chase. Since the online version of Open Doors to Inclusion is freely available, it can be easily used and replicated. The RM Institute plans to translate it into English and Spanish. The organization will also establish an award programme to recognize the best practices created by course participants so that these can be shared and adopted by educators and policy makers.
THE STORY OF FELIPE, USER OF OPEN DOOR TO INCLUSION
“The teacher created a new game – Felipeball.”
Felipe was attending the fifth grade of a mainstream public school in Rio de Janeiro. He has cerebral palsy and was always excluded from the physical education classes. Things changed when Felipe’s teacher, Luiz Gustavo, attended the Open Doors to Inclusion course and began to modify the rules of the sports offered to his classes. First, he explored basketball, which allowed Felipe to participate with his classmates, but still in a very limited way. Luiz noticed that Felipe could do more, and so he decided to create a new sport: “Felipeball.” Felipeball is an inclusive game. Everyone moves around supported by the other four team members, which is the position that maximizes the mobility of Felipe. The game is played with the hands, and only the goalkeeper can stand up. All students like the new game and it became the most popular activity of the school. Says Felipe: “I used to play by standing still on a chair. Now I feel that I am really participating. I make somersaults, score many goals, and celebrate with my friends.”