The toddlers capoeira program was established in the late summer of 2009, under the umbrella of the parent not-for-profit organization, the International Capoeira Angola Foundation. The name CAPO4KIDS©, however, was only recently created to distinguish the curriculum of the children’s program from the adults program, and to emphasize the significance and impact of play on the physical and socio-psychological development of children.
The founders of CAPO4KIDS© are Beto de Freitas, Contramestre (CM) and Huu Nguyen, Ph.D., a husband and wife duo. Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Contramestre Beto started learning capoeira in 1991. After relocating to Chicago in 1994, Beto started studying under Mestre (master) Cobra Mansa, who is a leading figure in the studies, research and promotion of Capoeira Angola in the world. Contramestre Beto is the founder of the International Capoeira Angola Foundation - Chicago Chapter and supervisor of the ICAF Madison Study Group. Beto has been a major force in the dissemination of Capoeira Angola in Chicago and the Midwest and has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, both to teach and learn from master teachers. Beto continues to work diligently with diverse organizations, utilizing Capoeira Angola as a social tool to address issues ranging from cultural tolerance to health disparities among both adults and children. Huu moved to Chicago for graduate school in August 2001, and began studying Capoeira Angola with Contramestre Beto of ICAF in January 2002. She has since been involved in numerous national and international conferences, both as a participant as well as an organizer, and instructor. She co-founded the ICAF-Chicago capoeira program for toddlers and children, a unique program focused on cultivating self-value and self-esteem in participants through the use of music and movement. Her degree in Medical Ethnobotany has given her insight into the growing need for a range of urban programming, whether academic or health & wellness-related, to be culturally competent, relevant and accessible.
While the program itself was established by the duo, the actual curriculum has been fostered and enriched by their two daughters, Jaciara and Kaila whose playfulness and creativity with Capoeira have contributed greatly to the games and exercises within the curriculum. CAPO4KIDS© is still very much in its infancy, but as we have shifted our focus and studies toward the use of Capoeira Angola as a tool to strengthen and nurture self-worth and self-esteem in children, we have begun to adapt and tailor our program to be age appropriate with regards to childhood development and education.