Universal design-based practices for public early childhood education

Projeto Brincar
Mais Diferencas - Inclusive Education and Culture
Country of Implementation
Latin America & Caribbean
South America
Sao Paulo
Start Year
First published

The project promotes the use of accessible and inclusive teaching methods in public pre-school education based on the principles of Universal Design. Educators and families experience its theory and methods in the form of trainings and workshops, teachers also receive practical support in the classroom.

Three girls, Lara in the front and her twin sister and another girl in the back, are playing with pink ribbon.
Workshops are based on play, pictures, and music.

Solution details


Carla MAUCH Website
“We often think there is a model to be followed, but each child is unique, each class is unique. This guarantees a fulfilling childhood.” Maria Tereza Mora, Assistant Director of a beneficiary school

Projeto Brincar is a project implemented by the São Paulo-based disability NGO Mais Diferenças, in partnership with the Volkswagen Foundation (Fundação Volkswagen) and São Paulo’s Municipal Secretariat of Education. Educators and families are trained in accessible and inclusive pedagogical practices based on Universal Design principles to make early childhood education more inclusive for children with disabilities living in São Paulo. The project began as a pilot in 13 schools, training in its first year 406 educators. In 2019, the Project reaches more than 500 schools, having training over 2,100 educators.

Problems Targeted

Many children with disabilities still miss out on educational opportunities because inclusive teaching practices are not always used in public education

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The project promotes accessible and inclusive pedagogical practices in public preschool education by training educators in theory and method, by giving practical support to educators in the classroom, and through conducting workshops with families of preschool-age children. Such workshops include music and painting activities performed by children both with and without disabilities as well as their families. Moreover, the project supports the production and the dissemination of pedagogical resources for Inclusive Education. The practices proposed by Projeto Brincar follow Universal Design principles, such as the use of pictures and other visualizations as well as audio-descriptions in order to benefit all children. Expert advice is given by a group of pedagogical consultants, which includes persons with different types of disabilities. As of November 2019, over 500 municipal schools have been reached and 2,109 educators have been trained. Notably, 98 per cent of training and workshop participants agree that the practices proposed by Projeto Brincar positively impact the development of all students.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

The project is entirely funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, and is implemented by the NGO Mais Diferenças in partnership with São Paulo’s Municipal Secretariat of Education. It has an annual budget of $232,000. Mais Diferencias believes that to replicate the project successfully it is important to cooperate with all levels of the municipal education management and to seek dialogues with teachers, children, and their parents. The project’s methodology and lessons learned have been shared among state and municipal education departments throughout Brazil and were also included in the early childhood education curriculum of the City of São Paulo. Mais Diferenças’ objective is to expand Projeto Brincar to as many schools as possible in São Paulo, with plans to reach an additional 100 schools in 2020 for a total of 600.



Three girls, Lara in the front and her twin sister and another girl in the back, are playing with pink ribbon. Workshops are based on play, pictures, and music.



Life Story


“My own school life would have been very different if Projeto Brincar had already been around.”

My name is Mário Paulo Bovino Greggio, and I am 40 years old and have Asperger’s Syndrome. Currently, I am attending Computer Science College, and I also work with the monitoring and evaluation team at Mais Diferenças, a Brazilian non-governmental organization whose aim is to promote, construct, and implement inclusive practices in several sectors of society, with a focus on the rights of people who face physically disabling barriers. Here I am responsible for inserting data about the activities of Projeto Brincar into our database. Among my daily tasks, the ones I like most are uploading photos and videos into the Projeto Brincar image bank and monitoring teachers’ attendance at the project’s events. This year in particular, I truly enjoyed taking part in the school workshops in order to talk about autism with teachers who mostly had never met an adult with autism. I talked about my school life in special and regular schools, which, I now realise, would have been pretty different if I had attended a regular school where there were projects such as Projeto Brincar.

Related information

Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation


Region of Implementation

Latin America & Caribbean

City of Implementation

Sao Paulo