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A summer for children at the centres for the elderly of ”la Caixa” Foundation

Barcelona, 16 July 2002

During the summer months, the computing rooms and media libraries of the centres for the elderly are opening up to young people for the first time in order to promote inter-generational activities through the Educ@lia website (www.educalia.org). This initiative lies within the framework of the Fundació ”la Caixa” social and educational programme and brings together the wish of Fundació ”la Caixa” to promote an active role in society for the elderly through inter-generational and volunteer activities. At the same time this initiative fosters the use of the new information technologies among the elderly and children.

This summer for the first time children will be able to accompany the elderly in the computing rooms and media libraries at the centres for the elderly and will be able to use the computers, scanners and Internet connection provided at them. There will be elderly volunteers in the rooms to help the children with the computers. At the centres they will be able to take part in the various activities offered on the Educ@lia and ClubEstrella websites.

Educ@lia is a meeting-place full of ideas, games and activities for learning, having a good time and exchanging experiences through the web. For this summer we have organised competitions, chat-sessions, forums, the chance to learn English in a play-based way and areas in which experts can be consulted to gain information on various subjects in the news.

One of the novelties for this year is “Un estiu de postal” (Postcard Summer), in which the children can send virtual postcards from the places in which they are spending the summer. The web provides all the tools needed to send a virtual postcard, though it is also possible to write one on paper and scan it in the media libraries for the elderly.

“La màgia de les paraules” (The Magic of Words) is a virtual activity for the elderly and for children based around literature and stories. When it comes to writing a story, children and elderly people alike find a space with the tools and ingredients needed to write it. Pieces of paper, a pencil and even a virtual computer, all with a goodly measure of imagination for writing. Once the story is completed it is sent to and posted at the two virtual “The Magic of Words” libraries, one for elderly persons and the other for children, which already have more than 1,000 stories. The libraries have stories on various subject areas, ranging from history to a colourless car, an unknown desert, a town without happiness, a terror club and the story of the bag man.

Playing with the euro by buying various objects in order to improve in use of the new currency, putting questions to famous people, travelling with the euroclik to get to know the whole of Europe, and taking part in the Health Forum are other offerings for children and elderly people during the summer.


Educ@lia is one of the initiatives promoted by Fundació ”la Caixa” within its educational programme with the objective of supplementing and stimulating educational work both within the school environment and outside school hours. This space provides its users with a personal e-mail address, a space to build their own or their school’s web page and an open chat forum so that they can communicate with any member of the community. Educ@lia is a space aimed at pupils aged 3 to 12 years, parents and teachers.

The subject-matter at Educ@lia is connected with the thematic areas implemented in the Fundació ”la Caixa” educational programmes, such as preventive measures, health, science, the environment and art. Special care is taken of the image of Educ@lia, right from the Clik, the lightbulb mascot designed by Javier Mariscal which guides users through the content of the web.

Programme for the elderly

This initiative lies within the framework of the Programme for the Elderly of Fundació ”la Caixa”, whose main objective is to ensure that the elderly feel fully integrated into and play an active role in society. One of the most successful initiatives of Fundació ”la Caixa” has been implementation of the programme to introduce the elderly to the new technologies. Computing courses at the centres for the elderly, created by Fundació ”la Caixa” itself and under agreements with government departments, together with a media library, are some of these activities.

This activity can be undertaken from the 524 centres for the elderly run by the Fundació ”la Caixa” either itself or under agreement with government departments. Fundació ”la Caixa” has installed at the centres for the elderly: 121 computing rooms, 13 cyber-cafés and 148 media libraries; nearly 70,000 students have taken part in the “Club Estrella” workshops, the Internet space specially created by Fundació ”la Caixa” for the elderly.


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