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Back in session this Friday: university for seniors

mini totsThe Universitat per a Majors project, backed by the Universitat de les Illes Balears, the Govern Balear, the Formentera Council and l'Obra Social de la Caixa, is returning to Formentera. This Friday, 8 May, at five p.m. in the Sant Ferran social centre, a conference entitled “Cants de tradició oral a Eivissa i Formentera” ('Orally-transmitted traditional song in Eivissa and Formentera'), imparted by Dr Jaume Escandell, will kick off the lecture series.

One of the paramount ideas behind the conference series – which will make stops in Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and La Mola – is that learning never stops. The 5-6:30 p.m. slot will remain unchanged throughout the series, whose next appearance will come to pass 22 May at the La Mola senior centre with a conference by Dr Olga Cardona, “El que s'ha de saber de les herències” ('Understanding inheritance'). The following week, 29 May, Dr Jaume Vadell will speak in Sant Francesc on “Agricultura Ecològica”.

In June, Josep L. Joan will host a talk in Sant Ferran on “Les tradicions rurals d'ahir: llavors de futur per al camp d'Eivissa i Formentera” ('Bygone rural traditions: seeds of the future for the Eivissa-Formentera countryside') [19 June], the last conference before breaking for the summer heat. The series will start up again in September, when children head back to the classroom too. 18 September, in Sant Francesc, José M. Escalona will lead a lecture titled “El vi saludable” ('Healthy wine').

Two different talks are on the agenda in October: on the 2nd in Sant Ferran, “Els topònims de Formentera al llarg de la història de la cartografia” ('Formentera toponyms throughout the history of cartography') , led by Josep A. Prats. And then, having kicked things off in May, on 23 October Dr Jaume Escandell will be back in Sant Francesc to lead the final talk, “Músiques instrumentals de transmissió oral a les Pitiüses” ('Orally-transmitted instrumental music in the Pitiüsa islands'). All of the conferences are open to the public.

4 May, registration begins for Sa Miranda nursery school and new summer school

Escoleta futbol 26032015The fourth through the fourteenth of May is the period of enrolment for the 2015-2016 school year at the Sa Miranda nursery school, as well as enrolment for one to three year olds at the summer school to be held this year at the Casal de l'Esport, located on the Camí Vell de la Mola, next to the football pitch.

Applications must be submitted to the Citizen Information Office (OAC) of Sant Francesc Xavier. At present the Formentera Council is overseeing transformation of the Casal de l'Esport into a provisional school, which, in summertime, will serve as an early-childhood learning centre – or escoleta – for one to three year olds. Looking ahead to the coming school year, if both educators and families agree, the centre could continue as a provisional nursery until the new Sant Ferran escoleta is finished.

This summer, Casal de l'Esport to don a new jersey

Escoleta futbol2 26032015FiC president Jaume Ferrer and councillor of education and culture Sònia Cardona, together with Esperança Suñer, headmistress of the Escoleta de Sa Miranda nursery school in Sant Francesc, and Hector Martínez Company, staff specialist in infrastructure, paid a visit this morning to the Casal de l'Esport of the municipal football pitch, a locale dedicated to hosting sports-related activities on the island.

The visit was intended as an opportunity for the individuals to share their expertise in education and infrastructure and weigh the possibility of adapting the locale for use as a summer school for infants ages one through three. The local summer school (or escola d'estiu) programme is currently only open to school-age children, although a significant number of parents have expressed a need for a more encompassing service.

In the words of Jaume Ferrer: “The ideal situation will be to have an early-learning centre designed expressly to meet the needs of our youngest children. That is what we'll have [with the new school] in Sant Ferran but it's not yet a reality. However, this doesn't need to stop us from providing a service that our local population is saying is necessary”.

The FiC president said that the services currently offered at the Casal were “important and expansive”, while acknowledging that for the time being they weren't necessarily educational in nature. Ferrer added: “This is a space that was, from the get-go, designed to be open and adaptable, which makes the task of imagining different, provisional uses that much easier.”

Sònia Cardona reflected: “The idea is for the space to serve as an early-learning centre until the new escoleta in Sant Ferran is finished, and this is what we've communicated to the technical specialists working on the project. Their work now is to decide what changes will be necessary so that the Casal can become a safe, adapted centre for our children”.

Cardona called to mind the Council's project, long since complete, to expand the Sa Miranda nursery school in Sant Francesc, and noted that, now that the Formentera Council has received notice from Ibisec about the location of the future Sant Ferran learning centre, the parallel project in that town “is a priority for our administration.”

The technical crew of educational and infrastructure specialists provided an extremely positive evaluation of the Casal space, citing its spaciousness, light and inner courtyards as advantages and noting that primary changes would need to include a remodel of the toilets and separation walls to create individual classrooms.

Sant Ferran environmental workshop for kids takes crack at alternative energies

taller mediambientThe Formentera Council and local public libraries are holding another in a series of monthly workshops dedicated to environmental education for children four and up. This Wednesday 25 March at 5pm, the Marià Villangómez library in Sant Francesc Xavier will host “Les energies que ens envolten” ('The energies around us').

Through games and practical hands-on exercises, kids will learn about the importance of energy and natural energy sources. As at every workshop in the series, the library will prepare a bookcase full of books and other educational material concerning the week's topic.

Location set for Sant Ferran nursery school

parcella stferranLast Thursday, 18 March, the Formentera Council made official its receipt of revisions to the draft project for the new school in Sant Ferran. The revisions, prepared by the Govern Balear's bureau in charge of services and infrastructural projects in education, Ibisec, set aside a 2,663-sq.-m. segment of the 11,000-sq.-m. lot for the future site of the Sant Ferran nursery school, the actual construction of which will be overseen by the Council.

Immediately after receiving the document from Ibisec, the Formentera Council put technical working groups in place to achieve two different objectives – streamline the remaining portion of the draft work and weigh the legality of the proposed changes.

Ibisec's revisions come two months after the deadline set at a November meeting in Mallorca between Ibisec director Mateu Sunyer and a Formentera delegation composed of FiC president Jaume Ferrer, education councillor Sònia Cardona and Council specialists Xico Ribas and Diego Dueñas. The 20 November meeting was also attended by the Govern's representative in Formentera, José Manuel Alcaraz.

At the November meeting it was decided that plans would be modified to accommodate placement of a nursery school, which would be constructed by the Council itself. Several particularities marked the draft project presented by the FiC at that juncture, the first being its provision for two different class groups for every year of study – what in Catalan and Spanish is called a two-line school ('de dos línies). The Council's plan at the time also included an early-childhood facility, a block of primary classrooms, science labs, a gymnasium, sports field and administrative offices.

FiC president Jaume Ferrer stated: “It would be fabulous if -at the same time that this discussion is happening at the administrative level- the project for the Sant Ferran school had the contribution of community members, parents and teachers alike in order to assure an appropriately-sized facility.”

President Ferrer continued by offering his own idea for the project's continuation: Upon the upcoming arrival on Formentera of Núria Riera, whose visit last Thursday was canceled due to inclement weather, that the regional minister of education “share the new draft project with our local community groups and see what contributions people here on the island have to offer.”

Ferrer suggested that “it would be disastrous if -in light of forthcoming elections- immediacy were put before quality and this project were to go without the community participation it needs. We hope this becomes a school that is both well-equipped for its educational purposes and one that is in keeping with the surrounding natural beauty.”

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