Archive | February, 2013

Monica GALEAO – Escolinha’s Headmistress

28 Feb

Designated headmistress in January 2011,

Monica GALEAO has always wanted to work with kids.

For 15 years, she has been working in the field of education.

Monica GALEAO

Monica GALEAO

  • How does the school work?

I have two bosses: Carlos TUSFRASIO, who is at the head of the Social Responsibility Department, and the Vice Rector who runs the Student Community. I have to give them reports regularly on the school activity. However, I don’t have to take care of the financial part: accounting and finance are not part of my job.

  • What does the foundation actually provide to the school?

First of all, the Edson Queiroz Foundation (EQF) provides social services to the whole community. For instance, at UNIFOR, there are dentists, psychologists, doctors and even a legal service that are free for every parent from the communidade. They don’t have to pay anything for their children’s health.

Furthermore, EQF brings all the school materials, such as uniforms, snacks, and books. EQF also pays the teachers.

Lastly, EQF allows children to participate for free to a lot of cultural events: theater, expositions…

  • What are the main goals of La Escolinha?

Give quality education to the children, share the knowledge, and above all: stimulate the art. The art is a wonderful way to educate our pupils better. Most of the time, none of them has access to any cultural event. And I strongly believe that is very important to open the children’s minds to the world around them. That is why we especially pay attention to making them read a lot. Besides, when we bring them to cultural events, we talk with them a lot about the artist and his life; we make them react to the artist’s story because we want them to understand that there is a chance for everybody. At last, one of our goals is to transform them into citizens. We try to make them start to wonder about “who am I in this world?”, “what can I do to make it better” and so on.

  • Do other schools of this type – totally financed by a foundation – already exist in Fortaleza?

Yes, for example there is the Bradesco Foundation’s School, which is even bigger than here! The foundation is the Bradesco Bank, one of the most famous in Brazil. It is not only a kindergarden as it also provides its students basic education. Moreover, this school offers professional courses for adults such as IT or English, which is very useful. Like here, the access to the school is free but there is a limited number of places. Each family who wants to apply for its kid has to fill out a file (like here also), and this file is carefully studied by the administration, that will decide the acceptance.

 

  • What are the requirements a family needs to apply at La Escolinha?

There are a limited number of available places here. The child has to be a daughter or a son of any professional who works at UNIFOR. Or, the child has to be living in one of the communidade partners with EQF.

Secondly, the child has to be from 4 to 10 years old maximum. We don’t accept kids older, even if there are some because we made them repeat one or several years.

Lastly, we make the family fill out a big file to apply. Indeed, we really pay attention to the family. That is why we ask for a lot of details in the file: parents situation, how many people live in the house, how old are they… Indeed, we are aware that when the child is learning at school, it is his whole family who is learning with him indirectly. So we need to know who is actually behind the child. Thus we can find a way to work all together. For instance, we also organize a special meeting once per year where the teachers meet each parent and talk about each child. We give a lot of importance to this moment. We need to know if the child is sick (some of the children have mental illnesses), what is he afraid of… and it allows us to complete the child’s file. We try to focus on this link with the parents as much as it is possible. Moreover, there are parents who don’t really know how to take care of their child so we advise them. We also fill out the file with them, because the majority of them are illiterate.

Exemple of a FICHA DE MATRICULA

Exemple of a FICHA DE MATRICULA

  • Where do the children go once they become too old to apply to La Escolinha?

Once the child is more than 10 years old, he can go to another public school, Matos Dourado, which is also at UNIFOR. Unlike La Escolinha, it is the government that pays everything for the school – not the EQF. The problem remains that this is not the same teaching quality: the majority of the teachers are absent – sometimes without any reason – or late. Besides, the food quality is also lower… That is why children are often disappointed having to go over there, and would like to stay here! But we can’t accept them all…

  • What are La Escolinha’s projects for the future?

We really want to get bigger, and to keep children here two years more. That way they will do their whole basic education in the same school. My responsibility is to finish this part of their education, because they started here. We need to finish the circle. That is why a new school has been recently authorized here, and will be able to welcome 800 children. This new school will replace La Escolinha, and I hope it will be built around the end of the year 2013. Unlike La Escolinha, it will be located outside UNIFOR. After we expand our activity, we plan to hire teachers. We would like to set up new courses.

  • What are the main problems you have to deal with today?

I think it is the parents. Most of them really like the school and are thankful, but they tend to rely too much on us. Some of them make us entirely responsible for their child’s education. However, I keep saying that 50% of the education must be done at home! They can’t transfer so much responsibility on our shoulders.

Transfer of Responsibility

Transfer of Responsibility