School of Education of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (ESE-IPVC)

Entrepreneurship for children from 3 to 12 years : Dream and Doing
Rationale and general information

A recent study conducted in several European countries points out that young job seekers fail to show skills considered essential by employers such as verbal and written communication, teamwork, problem solving, leadership, initiative, flexibility/adaptability, enthusiasm, planning, determination and assertiveness, among others. In 2000, the European Union’s action and development plan “Lisbon Strategy” emphasized the need for training and qualification of its citizens towards lifelong learning introducing the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship as a key competences for lifelong learning. Since then, the development of children’s entrepreneurial skills has been receiving increasing attention and some European countries have already set global policies for its inclusion in curricula, transitioning from a teacher-centred approach to a more child-centred one. To achieve the entrepreneurship education of children from 3 to 12 years old it’s necessary to train teachers, both pre-service and in-service teachers. And, before this it is necessary to train teacher educators

Being an institution of teacher education, ESE-IPVC is committed to dynamic, innovative and creative methodologies in the teaching/learning processes and therefore decided to design and implement the project. Its main goal is to foster social appropriation of entrepreneurial culture in children with a component of teacher training.

Starting Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2011
Budget and financing sources

The financial and logistical resources were provided by IPVC, CIM and CEAN

Human resources

The participants involved in the 1st year of the project were:

  • 6 pre-service teachers
  • 15 in-service teachers (preschool and grades 1-6)

The team involved in the elaboration and implementation of the project is composed of :

  • Lina Fonseca, Teresa Gonçalves, Gabriela Barbosa, Ana Barbosa, Ana Peixoto, Francisco Trabulo, and Nelson Dias from Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Escola Superior de Educação;
  • Carla Gomes from CIM-Alto Minho;
  • Dionísia Gomes, and Carlos Pepe from CEAN – Portugal

ESE-IPVC, in partnership with CIM-Alto-Minho, the Coração Delta Association and its Educational Centre Alice Nabeiro (CEAN), designed and developed a Project to foster the entrepreneurial education in children. The Project is directed to children from 3 to 12 years old (IPVC, 2013). It is intended to contribute for children to transform ideas into action, creating conditions for them to accomplish their dreams and create value.

A manual "Having ideas to change the world" was developed by Educational Centre Alice Nabeiro and was used as the main resource of the project. It has materials and proposals of activities designed for preschool children (ages 3-5), 1st primary school children (ages 6-9) and lower secondary school children (ages 10-12).

The manual conciliates goals at different levels (knowledge, skills and attitudes) by promoting the active engagement of children in doing their own projects, based on their own ideas, while they explore the skills required in each of the following twelve steps (12SPrEE):

  1. Stimulating ideas
  2. Sharing ideas
  3. What do I want to do?
  4. Mind-sets
  5. Active Listening
  6. Talking about the project
  7. Working with collaborators
  8. Identification of needs
  9. Building prototypes to communicate the project
  10. Collaborators' network
  11. Task cycles
  12. Project leadership

The project was implemented in three main steps :

  1. In 2011/12, workshops and practical sessions were held for teacher trainers to gain knowledge on Entrepreneurial Education and prepare their intervention in teacher training
  2. Preschool and primary teachers (grade 1 to 6) were then trained

in 2012/13, the newly trained teachers started their interventions in real educational contexts.

Find out more on the full case study



Key partners of the school and their respective roles

  • Host Schools (Teacher Education)
  • Municipality (Cultural and educational activities)
  • Cultural and Educational Associations (Provision of resources and spaces)
  • ERASMUS Partnerships (Mobility – Students/Teachers)
  • UNESCO (Provides resources on Education for Global Citizenship)
Success factors

Some conditions of success have been identified to replicate the project:

  • Schools that are committed with active learning approaches and project work and schools with flexible curriculum
  • To develop entrepreneurial skills in teacher education is better to integrate the subject in the curriculum (better than an extra-curriculum format)
  • A close supervision of EE during students’ placement in host schools
  • Monitoring the process and the results of EE and to evaluate, adapt and built material to diverse school contexts
  • To identify good practices, to share and to disseminate the project
  • The partnership mentioned above brought together institutions of diverse nature, aiming to contribute to the citizens’ empowerment in the scope of entrepreneurship: a higher school of education, a network of Local Authorities and a social association created within a business organization driven by social responsibility
  • The project is innovative because of the idea - entrepreneurship for children from 3 to 12 years old; because it was developed in educational context; and because of the dynamic interface created between children and teachers training
  • Beyond children and teachers, a network of community collaborators was aggregated to the projects developed by children
  • The motivation of all the participants geared by the adoption of dynamic student-centred approaches was a success factor. The natural school context chosen for teacher training was another aspect that contributed to the success of the project.
  • Involvement of both in-service and pre-service teachers;
  • Development of entrepreneurial skills: working in a team, manage time, be flexible and adapt to new situations, maintain positive attitude, analysing mistakes and learning from them; to solve autonomously specific problems self-formulated and to integrate ideas and suggestions of others in order to achieve a common goal
  • Creation of a challenging learning environments designed for the development of soft skills;
  • Development of a dynamic seed projects;
  • Enlargement of the network of teachers interested in joining the project, influenced by peers;
  • Improvement of teachers’ practices by intervention project;
  • Creation of an Observatory for Entrepreneurship Education.
Lina Fonseca,