CAPS – Country Piloting Process in Hungarian Schools

The beginning of 2019

The piloting process of this project started many months before thinking about the training curriculum. Because of our previous and rich experience on playwork, we have already had some discussions on this matter. As a matter of fact, thanks to previous EU and Hungarian funded projects, and the visit we made to some OPAL schools in the UK, we understand in the one hand, the importance of implementing the whole playwork theory on the daily school practice, and in the other hand, that this kind of action is a long term process.

At the beginning of 2019, the team reached three schools from Budapest to start some workshops and to study the possibility of piloting the project with them. The first one is located in a little town on the country side name Jánoshida, with whom we have just started the first negotiations and probably will do a workshop in March.

The second school, located in Budapest and named Laborc Primary School, is a new partner. We were able to have some personal meetings with the leaders of this school, allowing us to run a 3 hours workshop for the school staff members.

Finally, the Burattino school, also in Budapest, was very excited to collaborate with us. We have already run a great half-day training with their teachers in August 2018, so our relationship has been growing since. For this process, we connected the school to a Hungarian NGO called Zöldövezet. In the framework of their “Helping Hand” programme, they put in contact educational and social institutions who need small infrastructural developments with larger companies that can contribute though their CRS policies. With the help of this organization, the school could repair some outdoors toys and they want to fund the first “CAPS-BOX” of Europe!

In the same period, one teacher from another school asked the Rogers Foundation to help them become more play friendly. She has attended some of our events and training, so she wanted to experience this approach in her school. However; this process faced some difficulties as the headmaster of the school was not actively supportive of the initiative. Even though we tried the pilot, the other teachers complained about the amount of work that freely play demands. This is very understandable as the working conditions at schools can be stressful and exhausting. This experience reaffirmed us the importance of being in alliance with the headmasters at schools in order to work in coordination.

By the spring of 2019, we had started to work with the school located in Jánoshida, and the work together was excellent. They had some previous experience on this approach as they had visited some OPAL school in the UK in 2018. During the first workshop, the teachers were motivated and participated actively, they even made future plans to carry on the Play-friendly School. At the end, they choose their “play leaders”, which is one of the strategic and operative parts of the project. More than that, it is the very first Quality Criteria. Having the support of the headmaster allowed us to pilot the actual training curriculum.

The process between Zöldövezet Társulás and Burattino school, took longer than expected. They have almost finished the CAPS-BOX, but there are still some details to be done. Nevertheless, the Rogers Foundation is very happy about the upcoming result and the Buranttino school has now a strategic and operative leader of the piloting process of the CAPS project.

By the end of this period, a new school in Baja asked us to help them become more play friendly, so we have started to communicate with them by email. As for the future, we aim to run a mentoring program for each school in order to helping them grow and achieve the quality criteria number: the overall playful feeling. We feel on the right path and the process is on route.

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