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Formentera rolls out diverse bill to mark Universal Children's Day

foto dia de la infancia 2016Formentera's councillors of social welfare, environment and sports, Vanessa Parellada, Daisee Aguilera and Jordi Vidal, respectively, shared news today of the activities organised by the Council to commemorate Children's Day on the island. Universal Children's Day occurs on November 20 and, as last year, a programme of events has been tailor-made for local children and teens. Formentera is also recognised as a Child-friendly City, an honour bestowed on the Council October 17, 2014.

The programme gets under way tomorrow with two open conferences. Paco Pérez will give a talk entitled "El rosa y el blau ja no molen" (Why pink and blue just don't cut it anymore) and Virginia Vallejo will present another on sexual diversity and gender identity. For parents, guardians or anyone else interested, the two events will take place from 7.00pm in the conference hall of the Office of Culture.

Activities continue until November 30 with everything from storytelling for kids, theatre, film screenings and an open-house at the sports centre to reach out to Formentera young people and families.

This year also sees the return of two other initiatives: the community beach cleanups organised jointly with Formentera schools and an intergenerational space to facilitate exchanges between youth and the elderly. On Saturday, November 25, residents are invited to take part in a community bike ride, a first this year and just one of the many activities marking Universal Children's Day. See posters for more information.

Formentera's Casa de Colònies once again providing year-round service

Foto casa de coloniesVanessa Parellada, councillor of the CiF's Offices of Social Welfare and Youth Services, was joined today by Joan Ferrà, director of the Balearic Islands' youth institute (IBJove) on a visit to the local casa de colònies, a building that historically hosted children's educational events and camp-style activities and which is overseen by IBJove. Ferrà used the day's meeting to announce upcoming changes to the partnership agreement between the two entities that will allow the hall to remain open all year long.

Year-round use of the Formentera Casa de Colònies has been an aim of the Formentera Council since 2013, when the then administration of the Govern Balear shortened the site's operating season. Parellada hailed the change as an improvement. Additionally, Ferrà signalled a forthcoming increase in funding for maintenance at the Casa, with a total projected sum of €12,000. The 2016 allocation for such operations, €11,000, was already an increase from 2015 levels, when it stood at €4,115.

La Casa de Colònies de Formentera is located in the town of Sant Francesc. The building has a maximum capacity of 32, which, across the hall's four rooms, means space for eight people in each. It is equipped with a domestic-use kitchen, multi-purpose room, outside patio, toilets and showers. The Casa serves as a dormitory though there is no cafeteria service. Anyone interested in reserving space at Formentera's Casa de Colònies should contact the IBJove. Reservations are accepted for groups of 20 people minimum. The space is primarily used for training, school recreation or other activities that mix leisure and learning.

One hundred fifty children attended summer school

foto escola estiuThe Formentera Council's Office of Youth Services has reported that the island's summer school programme —the Escola d'Estiu, which concluded today, Wednesday, August 31— served a total of 150 boys and girls this year. The initiative centred on a programme of fun activities for kids aged three to twelve. Youth services councillor Vanessa Parellada said sixty children had attended the Escola d'Estiu at Mestre Lluís Andreu public school, and another ninety went to the programme at the primary school in Sant Ferran. The CiF councillor highlighted end-of-summer parties taking place today at both Escola d'Estiu sites, where she said “performances, water games and other activities” could be expected. According to Parellada, kids at both schools were also preparing a sampling of snacks and drinks for visiting parents.

The Escola d'Estiu is intended to be a fun and educational space for children during the summer months. Participating kids are encouraged to use leisure-time wisely by engaging in educational play. In addition, the aim of the programme is to help parents struggling to balance work and family life. Parellada says the last point is especially significant “given the high rate of employment on the island in summer”. “Children need to be looked after and kept busy,” she said.

One counsellor for every ten students
Activities are overseen by a team of 16 professional daycare counsellors. The schools maintain a ratio of one counsellor for every ten students, with one site director per school. Parellada said that all of the counsellors possessed the accreditation necessary to guide leisure-time activities.

Activities included arts and crafts, physical fitness, games, music, theatre, dance, movement, storytelling, cooking, trips to the beach and other field trips such as visits to the Council's hort infantil (“children's vegetable patch”). Children also had the option of swimming.

Summer schoolers visit Council's vegetable patch for kids

hort infantil formentera 2 2016 elenamarcoPupils of Formentera's summer school programme take part in activities at a vegetable garden for kids created by the Formentera Council and dubbed l'Hort Infantil. The administration's Office of Youth Services and Office of Agriculture are organising visits of the garden, which is located next to Sant Francesc's Sa Tanca Vella monument, for children attending summer school in Sant Francesc and Sant Ferran.

Young ones at the Sant Francesc summer school took it in two turns when they visited the garden and participated in outdoor farming activities. The visits lasted approximately 45 minutes. Next Monday August 22 children of the Sant Ferran de Ses Roques programme will be split into three groups that each take part in 45-minute sessions.

The vegetable patch for kids was created last winter for introductory-level children's farming courses put on by the Formentera Council. Given positive response to the courses so far it is expected they will continue through the coming school year.

Pre-registration for summer school runs June 13-21

Foto escola destiuThe Formentera Council's youth services department has announced that enrolment for the island's 2016 summer school programme, l'Escola d'Estiu, will run Monday, June 13 to Tuesday, June 21. Parents interested in registering their children should visit the Citizen's Information Office, or OAC, Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 2.00pm. Signups can also be done online through the OVAC, www.consellinsulardeformentera.cat. The order in which families register does not indicate priority.

To be eligible for one of the 200 spots available, children must be aged three to twelve or have been born between 2004 and 2012. For families living on the island and included on the municipal padró, monthly tuition is €140 for single-child households  and €220 for those with two children. Weekdays from 9.00am to 2.00pm and all July and August long, the summer programme is built around promoting educational leisure activities. In 2001, the local administration (then an ajuntament rather than a consell insular) assumed the mandate of running Formentera's summer school.

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