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Meeting Mozart, Monet and more at Centro Infantil San Pablo

By Mireille Rita Grovier, photos by Jay Grovier

Centro Infantil San Pablo has always been fortunate in having many volunteers through the years to enhance the children’s education. These continue to include swimming classes, computer lessons, English classes, math classes, and art lessons. We have volunteer book reading sessions in both English and Spanish. Interns from various universities in the United States and various church and/or missionary groups spend a week or more at the school for special activities with the children. In addition, to obtain extra credit, students from the University of Leon plan activities for the children.

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, the five-year-old members of the graduating class at Centro Infantil San Pablo have been introduced to famous artists, and stories from opera and ballet. The children have learned that there were artists called Impressionists, and that they were called this because, in their paintings, each artist told the story of the things that he or she had seen. The children have been shown photographs – and sometimes puppets – of paintings and figures from the works by Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh. Before the year is out, examples of works in Cubism, Pointillism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and the architecture of Antonin Gaudi will be displayed. Following their introduction to the works of these greats, the children are required to draw their own versions of the paintings. Before graduation, they will design a mural of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

The children have just learned that an opera is a story where people sing instead of talk. They will soon learn that a ballet is a story that is told in dance. This month they are meeting Mozart’s Zauberflöte (Magic Flute). The Queen of the Night whom they meet is a witch and Monostatos is a devil, all just in time for Halloween. Before the Christmas holidays, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet and Bizet’s Carmen will take center stage. Early in the new year, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel comes to call. In every instance, the children are told a synopsis of the story appropriate for five-year-old ears. Puppets representing the chief characters in the performances accompany the stories. (The puppets are constructed of foam paper or corks and plastic bottles.) Again, the children are required to draw their interpretations of the characters.

The children may not turn in their drawings until they have signed them. They are frequently reminded that they are artists and an artist must always sign his or her work.

The hope is that, from among these very bright and accomplished young people, artists, composers, musicians, and opera and ballet stars may emerge.

Centro Infantil San Pablo (CISP) provides early education for underprivileged children. Founded by St. Paul’s Anglican Church and in existence since 2001, over 240 five-year- olds have successfully completed our three-year program. A sponsorship for a child is always welcome. Donations are also appreciated. Advisory Committee members are often needed. For additional information, go to or email us at


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