A window on Monchique

An exciting new education project, the Janela Aberta School, opened its doors to the public last month. The Janela Aberta is no ordinary school. Firstly, its classrooms are computer terminals and the outdoor environment.

Secondly, it is based on the idea that school should be a positive lifelong experience — that we should never stop learning, classes should be creative, and students should develop both mind and body. Thirdly, its curriculum is based on Agenda 21, the United Nations’ sustainable development programme. As a rural-based learning centre, it opens up the global world to local residents, allowing them to develop personal lifestyles with an international perspective.

The school has a computer room with nine terminals, which are used for running small group courses. It is open for school visits, company training, and evening/weekend courses. The current summer programme includes a computer tuition week for both parents and children. An annual weekend nature camp at the Barragem da Bravura will follow this. The school will also host a computer club to ensure that home users can find useful support from other users and qualified personnel.

The school has already been given a great deal of help from local residents and businesses, which have donated furniture and fittings. For example, Angela Schultz and the organisers of the recent Algarve Health and Beauty Day, held at the Hotel Delfin, raised a useful 159 euros to help with setting up costs. However, there is still a need for basic software and office materials.

The school still specifically needs Windows Operating Software and Microsoft Office packages to run on the brand new Pentium 4s it has managed to buy. It also needs a photocopier, a scanner and a dozen chairs.There is also a need for teachers to come forward from the community to offer their services. If you can help, please contact Gordon Sillence at gsillence@clix.pt or call 96 322 0176.