Vilamoura International School students learn about democracy
A project to teach children the importance of democracy has seen students from Vilamoura International School’s Democracy Club meeting with residents of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia retirement home in Boliqueime over the past year.
Teacher Laurinda Silva, who runs the group, says: “Our political freedoms should not be taken for granted – we must continually pay attention and engage our critical faculties to observe what is going on around us. Democracy means knowing that we have a voice – and that we can intervene to build the countries and realities in which we wish to live.”
The club’s activities include learning how to read newspapers with a critical eye, considering environmental issues that affect the planet and visiting the retirement home in Boliqueime in order to reflect on the meaning of active citizenship.
By listening to the voices of a generation who often struggled to go to school, students were made aware of the poverty that many families experienced. By hearing stories from a different time, students gained an insight into how it is to live without proper infrastructure, freedoms or democratic rights.
This project also aimed to emphasise the role of family in education. By sharing stories, playing board games, singing and planting vegetables as they talked about the harvest, the students and the residents came together in a spirit of unity, respect and mutual understanding.