Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

The playground

FILIPA BURGO Set and Costume Designer, Portugal

The playground of my first school is the one that I miss the most. The playtime was the most exciting mo- ment of school life. It’s not that the rest of school life was a nightmare, but because the playground was the place where our imaginations found a limitless shelter. The most ordinary tree could become a watch tower and with a few stones we could built an impressive castle. On rainy days we used to wait patiently under the porch, yearning for a sunbeam to interrupt the anger of the skies. And when the sun was shining, we created new games with more energy.
The playground was the stage for all kinds of games, especially on party days like Christmas, Easter or our Carnival. On those days, the games included cow- boys, Sevillian dancers, clowns, princesses, pirates, fairies, musketeers, and the playground was full of serpentines, confetti and balloons.
On the other days, between numbers to discover and sentences to build, the ringing of the bell for the break was always welcome and followed by lots of kids running and laughing. The games that had been left unfinished were quickly resumed and continued till the bell rang again. The last game was to race to the classroom, to see who would be the first to arrive and to touch the number ‘4’ that was on the door. And once inside, diving in the lines of the notebooks, full of numbers and letters of the alphabet, we waited for the loud ‘riiiiiiiiiinnnnggggg’!