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Escuelita: Ten Years Betting on Art and Kids
By Emiliana García
  In the year 2000, Jolein Verwest, a Dutch woman living here in Nosara, noticed that the public schools in Costa Rica don’t normally teach art to the students. She envisioned creating a space of art and athletics for the children of Nosara during the summer. Ten years later, this vision is a reality: the “escuelita” (little summer school) is eagerly awaiting the little ones, and also the not so little ones.

Verwest returned to Holland in 2006, but Saskia Ellemeet, also Dutch, has taken her place as the leader of Escuelita de Verano. Ellemeet says “Every year it’s easier to produce Escuelita because we have a group of people who help us.” When it began in 2000, it had 20 students; last year 220 attended.

Escuelita’s participants are from 5 to 15 years old, and are divided into three classes. During the 2010 season, the school offered art lessons including photography, dance, singing, painting and sculpture with discarded recyclable items and with wood. The art program was complemented by sports including football, swimming, horseback riding and volleyball.

For January of 2011, Ellemeet said, she wants to give classes in surfing and kickboxing, but she depends on volunteers who are willing to share their time and experience with the children. Her foremost goal is to put on a fashion show, and to make that happen, Ellemeet will bring two well known designers from Europe.

Escuelita is financed by donations and the sale of products created by the children themselves and by Ellemeet. Last year, thanks to the cooperation of various professional photographers, Escuelita completed a calendar with photographs taken by the children. The calendars were sold for $20 each. Every year Escuelita sells “passports” for $10; each passport symbolizes the sponsorship of a child. This year they also are selling original buttons, the price of which is decided by the buyer. Just pass through the organic market on Saturdays and you won’t be able to resist them.

Many little ones look forward to Escuelita each January. Sheila Ruiz Sandoval, mother of 9-year-old María de los Ángeles, said that her daughter “Every day reminds me that Escuelita is coming up.” Ruiz contributes to Escuelita as a teacher and says she has noticed that her daughter’s mind has developed more thanks to the art classes. Her mother reports that María de los Ángeles “makes new playmates and is more open with the other kids.”

Escuelita will begin January 3rd, and operate Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.
If you want to contribute with donations, clothes that you no longer use, articles for art or to volunteer (teaching sports, photography, dance, etc.), please contact Saskia Ellemeet at 2682-0585, or write to [email protected] or [email protected].

Visit Escuelita’s web page at www.escuelitadenosara.org.



More Community News

David Kitson Library Update

The Biblioteca David Kitson is already looking towards the new year after a very busy 2010 in which we saw a new computer center installed by the National Library System for community use and expanded activities of the Seniors Club into a performing dance group doing folk dance and religious dance for church and holidays. More >


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