Children eating
Elementary school children enjoying a meal

Providing a safe environment to learn

In 2007, the Sisters of Mary received an area of land from the city government of São Bernardo, in the state of São Paulo. The site was for the construction of a facility to support early and primary learning. Two years later the  Sisters opened a day-care centre on the site, with a capacity for 158 young children, aged 3 to 5 years old focused on supporting the regions poorest and most vulnerable youngsters.

Alongside the day care facility an Elementary (or primary) day School was subsequently opened in 2012. This facility currently offers education to 316 children in grades 1 to 5 (ages 5-11). It operates half-days to serve two groups of children (one from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm, the other from 1 pm to 5:45 pm) maximising the opportunity for learning.

Elementary school children in a group outside

Quality education for primary level

The elementary (or primary level) boys and girls follow a curriculum of academic studies including maths, Portuguese, history, geography and computing. Each session, the children receive a full meal and a snack. There is now a huge demand for this programme because it provides local disadvantaged children with a good start, offers them regular nutrition, proper stimulation and keeps them safe.

The Elementary School programme operates at full capacity with long waiting lists and provides care to over 300 of the poorest children in the area.

“Demand for places continues to be very high. Outside, nobody cares whether the children are learning but we are worried for their behaviour, their human being. The families know that when the child is in our care they are not abandoned.”

Sister Melinda Sao Paulo Kindergarten and Day Care, Brazil