The conceptual frameworks of this study are health promotion and health education. Their similarities are emphasized, notably the importance of dialogue as a strategy for operational approach. In order to identify the evolution of concepts, practices, and of the institutionalization of health promotion in the perspective of education in primary care in Brazilian National Health System, the issue was investigated in the country’s 17 Health School Centers. Overall, 91 people were interviewed (24 managers, 35 professionals and 32 users), and unconventional educational practices in the waiting rooms of the Health School Centers were identified. It was concluded that the visibility of the waiting room as a public space could be enhanced through the appreciation of popular knowledge and collaborative work. Citizens could be encouraged to work creatively, optimizing the available resources.