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Formentera youth join call to reject petroleum explorations

jovesdiuen NO webLast Friday, a small group of pupils from IES Marc Ferrer (secondary school), joined by the school's director, Raquel Guasch, met with Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer and councillor of Education and Culture Sònia Cardona to deliver more than 200 signatures from residents of the island who oppose plans to explore for petrol on the Gulf of Valencia and west coast of the Pitiüsa Islands. The act, mostly symbolic, was part of an effort by Formentera students to give the youth of the island a voice in the issues that affect them.

The idea came from the students themselves. After witnessing outreach work done by the school's environmental commission – la Comissió de Medi Ambient –, a group of students at the high school, acutely aware of their right to take part in the discussions that affect the future of their island, decided to take action. Although not yet old enough to vote, the students wished to manifest their rejection of the seismic drilling plans and join the growing collective of more than 2,500 Formentera residents who have already voiced their opposition.

For its part, the Council committed to delivering the signed petitions to the Ministry of the Environment and Industry, thus making the opinions of Formentera youth known to those with decision-making power.

In addition to the Council's absolute support of the youth initiative, in the final trimester of 2013 the administration also ratified the constitution of the recently-formed local youth council, El Consell de Participació Infantil i Juvenil. The youth council was envisioned as an advisory body whose role it would be to provide a voice to Formentera youth as well as promote their active participation in local politics. Giving youth a voice, it was reasoned, would be the first step to considering that voice in the decision-making process.

This month's plenary session of the Formentera Island Council will raise that very issue and introduce a proposal to declare Formentera a UNICEF Child-friendly City. If approved, such a declaration would stand to certify that the municipality of Formentera upholds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In-school police officer to lead student talks on web-based crime

oci3From 29 to 31 January, Formentera's in-school police liaison will lead a series of talks at the island's secondary school, IES Marc Ferrer, and at two local primary schools, CPs Sant Ferran and Mestre Lluís Andreu. The talks, directed at years five and six of primary school and at the entirety of the secondary school student body, will focus on social media websites.

At the talks, students will also benefit from the special participation of a visiting police liaison from Ciutadella (Menorca), himself a specialist in computer-based crime. The officer will visit Formentera with the express purpose of participating in the specialised talks, which aim to inform island youth of the dangers of computer-based crime, recently on the rise.

In-school police liaisons are members of the local police force who collaborate specifically with educational centres. They assure a level of security on the school grounds, oversee prevention work vis-à-vis underage segments of the student body and work in concert with in-school social workers. On a day-to-day basis the liaison officer also intervenes on cases of truancy, student conflicts and criminal acts, tobacco and drug consumption and a host of other issues. The incidents logged most often in the 2012/2013 annual report by the Formentera police liaison were student conflicts (commonly fights and threats), reports to the local office of social services, serving summons for appearances in juvenile court and interventions in family conflicts.

Thanks to the programme an extra level of protection is afforded the island's early-childhood, primary and secondary school centres, which are assured a certain level of permanent contact with the local police officer.

Formentera's councillor of Education, Sònia Cardona, spoke effusively of the programme's benefits and the high level of satisfaction it is receiving. She underscored the preventative work being done and spoke of the importance, for students, of having such a figure on campus, whether it be in his role leading talks and conferences, supervising entry to and exit from schools, or any of his other functions.

Formentera's in-school liaison, Officer Carlos Malberti, has held his charge since September 2009. The post of liaison officer has been promoted by Formentera Council offices of Public Safety, Education and Social Welfare, and benefitted from the collaboration of the Balearic Islands Institute of Public Safety (ISPIB), a programme of the Govern Balear and the Department of Public Administrations.

Formentera Summer School creates solution for working families

escolaestiu2013 web2For yet another year, the months of July and August ushered in the Formentera Summer School, a programme of recreational activities for boys and girls from ages 3 to 12 years old. Proof of the initiative's success – the summer school programme permits parents to negotiate professional obligations with family life during the two central summer months – this year's summer school counted a total of 182 participants.

The goal of the Formentera Summer School is serve as a socio-educational resource during the summer months, and one that promotes viable, productive alternatives for leisure activities. One of the programme's many smaller scale objectives is to foster the creative development of its participants, in this way giving children the possibility to acquire an important knowledge base through play. In this same way participating children also learn values like solidarity, friendship, responsibility, trust and respect.

Summer school activities were held at Col·legi Públic Mestre Lluís Andreu, Col·legi de Sant Ferran and also Col·legi Públic del Pilar de la Mola, serving all three of the island's public primary schools.

Programming was held Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm, starting 1 July and extending through 30 August, and including the option of early morning start (8 am) at all three centres.

This year's programming carried the title, “SOM ARTISTES!!” (We're artists!!), and built a knowledge base around imagination and creativity, a starting-off point for various themes, which later included games, songs, arts and crafts activities, dance, gymkhanas and theatre.

Children had the opportunity to take part in outings to the municipal swimming pool, trips to different beaches, visits to different exhibitions, bike trips, a visit by island firefighters, and a get-together organised between all three centres and held at the Col·legi del Pilar de la Mola, where students took part in games, sports and other organised activities.

On 30 August the 2013 Formentera Summer School programme came to an official close with a gala held at the Cultural Hall (cinema), each group presenting a performance in which the dances, songs and other summertime activities could be put on display.

The summer school's directive team was made up of one recreational activity director, twenty counsellors, two counsellor assistants and one counsellor certified in special education.

Thanks to the day counsellor training courses offered over the course of the last several winters, the majority of counsellors this summer were also residents of Formentera. These training courses have been an important factor in maintaining high numbers of resident counsellors in past editions of the summer school. This is especially positive considering both stability it gives the project and the professional development opportunities it provides for Formentera youth in summer, affording an alternative to tourism sector-based employment.

Summer School 2013

escolaestiu2013 web

The councilor of Social Welfare, Youth and Equality of the Formentera Island Council, Dolores Fernández, presented today via press conference the opening of registration for the Formentera Summer School programme. The programme is a socioeducational resource that exists during summer months to provide children between 3 and 12 with a wide array of recreational activities.

A total of 200 spaces are available and activities will be held at the Mestre Lluís Andreu (Sant Francesc), Sant Ferran and El Pilar de la Mola public primary schools. During the months of July and August, alternatives for free-time activities will be offered to those children who participate, all with the goal of fostering creative development and imagination.

This time around the Summer School's guiding theme will be “Som artistes” (“We're artists”), the objective being to focus on arts and crafts, music, dance, etc. using the summer's activities as a starting-off point.

The different activities will include arts and crafts workshops (to stimulate imagination, creativity, psychomotricity, etc.); workshops – like gymkhanas – to promote physical fitness; game workshops (both traditional and from all over the world, outdoor, water games, etc.); music workshops (dances, songs, instrument building, etc.); theatre and physical expression workshops (in preparation for different end-of-the-month festivals); storytelling workshop; trips to the beach and other field trips.

These activities give children the possibility of an extremely diversified education through games and physical activity, not to mention imparting values like solidarity, friendship, responsibility, trust and mutual respect.

Like in years past, the school's objective is to offer an educational and recreational space for children during the summer months, to foment different educational leisure activities and assist in the solution of work-family conflicts (bearing in mind that the summer season is the period of time when employment is highest and children are not in school).

The Summer School activities programme will extend from 1 July to 30 August from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday, with the option of 8 am start-time. Swimming will also be possible as a complementary activity.

The professional staff will include 22 day counsellors, 1 director and 1 certified Special Education staff member to tend to children with special learning needs.

It is important to remember that the Summer School, although a recreational activity, is still educational, and as such full importance is given to the use of games as learning tools. Games form an integral part of the culture in which children live, fundamental to the physical, intellectual and social growth of a child.

Finally, we remind readers that registration will be open starting today, 12 June, and will continue through 19 June, in the Citizen's Information Office (OAC) of the Formentera Island Council.

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