Federación Catalana de l'Esplai

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Federación Catalana de l'Esplai

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Merche is working to bring together key educational institutions to provide a full education experience for children and youth that goes beyond merely teaching formal skills to include values such as empathy, democratic participation, and serving others. By including education in leisure time as a key element to child and youth education, Merche is helping educational institutions, parents and communities to understand that education goes far beyond the eight hours a day a child spends at school and involves them all as key participants.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Merche is creating alliances with education-related entities – such as local governments, schools and high schools, parent organizations and other citizen organizations – in order to create comprehensive education models that include leisure time as a key component to children and youth education. Through a consensus building process that includes assessing needs and available programs, training for volunteers and leaders and creating a center for leisure time activities, Merche brings these different entities together to work on a common plan to provide full education experience for youth. Instead of merely focusing on transmitting information or skills through formal education, or providing fun activities for kids to be entertained when parents are at work, Merche helps these organizations put key competences, such as empathy, leadership or citizen participation, at the core of each activity. Additionally, Merche helps these organizations involve the children and youth themselves in actually planning and carrying out activities, thereby powerfully increasing the transmission of these competences. Due to the fact that in Spain (excluding the region of Catalonia) there are very few entities that use youth’s leisure time as a values-building platform, Merche is also using these alliances to build locally managed youth centers, Esplais, that provide space and activities to train young people in key values needed to be successful in today’s world. She has found, during her 24 years of experience working with youth, that leisure time is an ideal environment to develop children and youth’s sense of responsibility, citizenship, empathy, identity, integration and other key concepts that cannot be fully transmitted in a formal school setting. The Esplais Merche is creating provide exactly this, in full coordination with the formal schools and other key entities, and beginning with children as young as three years old. Additionally, to allow access to as many children as possible, Merche applies a scaled pricing scheme that covers costs for children that come from economically underprivileged backgrounds. One of the differentiating factors in Merche’s model is that all activities are aimed towards solving a social problem of the municipality where the center is located. In this sense, each activity that the participants propose or plan must include the idea of improving the world around them. This way, Merche is helping young people focus on those around them in every activity, thus acquiring a deep sense of citizenship and empathy.