According to research studies, children who enjoy extra-curricular activities are less likely to have behavioural problems, play truant or use drugs. Jan Edwards looks at some fun ways to learn, away from the traditional school environment.
Gourmets in the Making
Learning to cook isn’t just about acquiring a useful life skill, it could also inspire a successful culinary career – like that of Gerhard Schwaiger, creator of the Michelin-starred cuisine at Tristán in Puerto Portals. Youngsters who dream of following in the footsteps of Gerhard, or celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver or Germany’s Tim Mälzer, will relish the new cookery course offered by Fórmula Schwaiger, for young gourmets (aged 12 years +).
It’s led by Kerstin Königer, Gerhard Schwaiger’s personal assistant, who served her apprenticeship in classical cooking in Germany. “We’ll teach them to use simple, healthy, fresh ingredients to create fast, easy dishes – such as pasta and sauce, or filled wraps – and to work with and recognise fruits, vegetables and other fresh products.” Kirsten says, explaining that young gourmets will taste all the dishes prepared. The course covers health awareness linked to nutrition;distinguishing between whole foods and the usual “fast food”; appropriate table behaviour, and the use of different cutlery for different dishes.
The basics of each course are the same, but dishes change to incorporate produce in season at the time. Each course begins with the making and drinking of a fresh fruit welcome cocktail. Participants leave with a collection of recipes, a certificate and a Fórmula Schwaiger apron (bound to impress their friends).
Cost of the course is 65 € per participant. Scheduled dates: Saturday, May 8; Wednesday, May 26; Saturday, May 29, from 11.00 – 15.00 hrs. The course can also be arranged privately for groups of up to 10 children. English or Spanish-speaking children can enjoy the course in their own language by pre-arrangement.
Local No 1
Tel: +34 971 677 277
Right on Course
Children learning golf in Mallorca play in one of Europe’s top golfing destinations. And one of the most prestigious instructors in Spain, Toni Planells, is the director of the Golf Academy at Marriott Son Antem. Marc Samaniego, their PGA Pro, has been a professional golfer for 12 years, and a Pro at other golf courses in Spain, including Catalunya, Girona and Perelada. He started playing at the age of 15 and with three lessons a week, quickly reduced his handicap. Marc says the sport teaches children a lot: “In my view, the most important benefits are balance, mobility, co-ordination, motivation and personal values – such as good manners and obeying rules.” More than 50 youngsters are currently learning to play golf at the Academy, in groups (of no more than seven students per instructor) based on age (ranging from seven to 19) and ability.
Students have 16 hours of classes a month (Saturdays and Sundays, 09.00 – 13.00 hrs) but individual instruction can also be arranged. Students learn how to prevent injuries by preparing themselves physically. All golfing equipment is provided (including a ‘uniform’) and all the young student needs to bring is “good spirit.”
The fee for group tuition is 125 euros per student per month, including 16 hours’ playing golf, additional physical preparation time, unlimited use of driving range, balls and end-of-summer party.
Marc Samaniego – PGA Professional
Tel: +34 649 621 048
Mallorca Son Antem Golf Resort & Spa
Tel. +34 971 129 200
Rafael Nadal is one of the world’s hottest sports stars and Mallorca’s most famous son, but it was the earlier success of Carlos Moya that initially increased interest here in playing tennis. Any budding Rafa or Carlos will benefit from professional coaching, such as that offered by Sergio Bassols at Sporting Tennis Club (adjacent to Mood). Sergio’s been coaching tennis in Mallorca for 15 years and, in the past, taught youngsters who competed against the young Rafa. “Tennis improves co-ordination and is more sociable than some other sports,” Sergio says. “It’s also a sport that can be played throughout your life.”
Sergio teaches groups of children (of similar ages) between four and 15 years old. Weekly lessons cost 25 € a month. The younger players tend to be a fairly even mix of boys and girls but “as they get older, there are more boys.” No tennis whites or special equipment are necessary for youngsters to begin learning (there are spare racquets at the club), although proper sports shoes are required.
From the end of June until September, there’s a summer camp for four to 15 year olds, on weekdays between 09.00 and 14.00 hrs (great for working parents), when youngsters have a good session of tennis, and enjoy some other sports and time on the beach. The summer camp is priced by the week and further details can be obtained from Sergio.
Sporting Tennis Club (next to Mood)
Tel: +34 696 561 308
Work that Body
Dance – in its numerous forms – transcends barriers of language, race, class and gender. It’s also a great form of exercise and expression, and healthier than technological temptations like social networking and video games. Palma is home to one of Spain’s premier schools, Top Dance – winners of the 2009 Spanish professional Hip Hop dancing championship. Directors Raphaël Mandon and Sandra Rey founded Top Dance in 2002, totally updating their premises in 2008, to provide the ultimate place to learn to dance on Mallorca.
Urban dance – such as Funky, Hip Hop, Breakdance, House, Old School and Ragga – is über-cool and for many of the hundreds of youngsters who come here every day, it’s a second home! With nineteen teachers (in synch with the latest dance trends), four teaching rooms, changing rooms, a music room, show area and cafeteria, it provides a unique and safe environment in which youngsters from the age of five can learn to dance.
Academia de Baile Top Dance
C/Joan Ripoll i Trobat 1 (by Son Dameto roundabout)
Tel: +34 971 289 101