The moment all parents have been waiting for has finally arrived: to know whether or not centri estivi (summer camps) in and around Florence will be open for summer.
The answer is yes! On June 1, the City of Florence announced that the public centri estivi would be open for business, and that pre-enrollment would take place between June 1 and 8. The application is quick and effective—you are asked for the child’s information, your details, and to select the dates you are interested in. You can select up to three different two-week slots, ranking them from most to least desirable. If you already have your 2020 ISEE, even better as you can insert that information when prompted to receive a discounted rate. If, however, you still haven’t completed it, don’t worry. The maximum amount for two weeks (if you’re a resident in the Comune di Firenze) is 190 euro. Visit the Comune di Firenze website for additional information and to access the application link.
Many private schools have also opened enrollment for summer camps, so make sure you take a look at the schools in your neighborhood and inquire whether or not they will be offering this service. Prices are a little higher than public centri estivi, but the student to teacher ratio is likely lower.
Unlike previous years, enrollment will not happen on a first come, first serve basis, but rather on a need basis. Most application forms will ask you if you and/or your partner are healthcare workers, if you are both employed, if you are working from home, and how many hours you are working. Depending on the number of applications they receive, you might not be able to get into your first-choice slot. However, since centri estivi are starting approximately two weeks early this year (June 15 as opposed to June 30), the chances of being allotted at least one slot are not that slim.
Though many parents might be happy sending their kids off to summer camp no matter the cost, there is more good news. The Decreto Rilancio of May 19, 2020 has allotted a maximum of 1,200 euro per family (2,000 in some specific cases) to help pay for summer camps. In order to benefit from the “bonus babysitting centri estivi”, as the law calls it, users must be enrolled on the INPS website, and must declare that they are not receiving any other type of government subsidy. So, for instance, if you or your partner are on furlough and receiving financial help, you would not qualify for the 1200 euro. If, however, you are both working (either in person or from home) you would qualify for this benefit. The reason for this is to allow children of workers to be looked after during the summer months. The INPS website gives further details.
Many private schools, as well as the Comune, have done their utmost to make this year’s summer camps safe and healthy environments for kids, workers and families. Groups are much smaller than previous years, activities are organized for the most part outside, and children over the age of six will most likely have to wear a mask. Hand sanitizer will be available, handwashing will be encouraged, and the children’s arrival and departure will be staggered to avoid large congregations of people.