The school in Vila Nova has finally been transferred from IBISS to the local municipality. IBISS has long campaigned for the government to assume responsibility and this latest development is therefore most welcome. It is, however, regrettable that in the process IBISS loses one of its most impressive flagship schools.While not necessarily positive on the one hand, it is nevertheless heartening to hear that the residents of the neighbourhood are sad that IBISS is handing over to the government. As a sign of appreciation by the parents and pupils of the school it pleases us greatly.
Although the government will now run the school, IBISS will continue to provide a social worker to facilitate contact between the school and the parents, for example when there are problems with one of the children at school.
Due to financial constraints, the local municipality is not able to run a Pré-Escolinha (pre-school) alongside the school, which means that the children in the neighbourhood start school with a disadvantage compared with children from the city, who go to Pré-Escolinha from the age of four. For this reason, IBISS is still present in the neighbourhood with three programmes.
Firstly, IBISS bridges the gap with a Pré-Escolinha of its own for children between the ages of 4 and 6. They learn the basics of the alphabet and various motor and cognitive skills. As many of the parents go to work, the Pré-Escolinha is open all day, unlike most others that are generally open for half a day.
This enables the parents to go to work in the knowledge that their children are at school. In the morning the children have lessons, in the afternoon, after lunch and siesta, they have time for recreation and playing games. At present the Pré-Escolinha caters for 64 children and a third storey is currently being constructed to increase the capacity to 100 children.
Many mothers would also like to send their younger children (less than 4 years old) to the Pré-Escolinha in order to be able to work. Unfortunately, the caring structure of the Pré-Escolinha is not able to cater for this age group. Instead, in early 2010 IBISS started renting a building for use as a Kindergarten for the children of single mothers aged 0 – 4 years. This makes it possible for the women to earn a living for themselves and their children. At present 14 children visit the Kindergarten.
Finally, IBISS also organises extra-curricular activities to keep children off the streets after school in order to prevent them coming into contact with criminals and drug traffickers. For example, there is a football school that trains in a sports hall in the mornings and on the astroturf field in the afternoon. In addition, IBISS is also in the process of founding a small theatre in Vila Nova. The building has already been organised but still needs to be fitted out. The theatre, when it is finished, will also be able to be used as a cinema. To this end, the Ministry of Culture has made available a series of teaching films. The theatre can then be used in future for drama classes.
Funding: at present, an additional 5000 Euros is needed to complete the third floor of the Pré-Escolinha.