K-6 Montessori School
We aim to provide generational improvements through comprehensive education.
A good education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty that pervades our community. Therefore, in 2000, UPAVIM established the K-6 Montessori School to offer children from La Esperanza and neighboring communities a school where they study in a safe and stimulating atmosphere. Today, the school offers classes from Kindergarten to 6th grade, serves approximately 150 children, and employs a director and 11 teachers. The K-6 Montessori School works to inspire the children to have a desire for learning in order to motivate them to continue in their education. They are also exposed to the values and personal skills needed to become an informed and active member of their community and their country.
The school is funded by fees, the sale of our handmade crafts, donations, and special fundraising events. A monthly fee of $23 covers tuition costs, though uniform, books, materials, and registration costs are separate. Breakfast is provided to all students and they are encouraged to practice healthy lifestyle habits daily including brushing teeth, exercise classes, as well as nutrition guidelines. In collaboration with the UPAVIM public library and librarian, each grade participates in a literature program once a week where reading, writing, research, and critical thinking skills are reinforced.
UPAVIM CAA has been integrating a Montessori style teaching approach by training teachers and implementing the philosophy in the classrooms grade by grade. In 2016 the kindergarten class began the year with Montessori practice, and now we have Montessori all the way through 3rd grade. Fourth through sixth is different and a bit more complex to train and set up with the Montessori method but we hope to eventually accomplish that too.
We know our school program enables students to enjoy learning and excel. We are very proud to have our school in our underprivileged community teach in the Montessori method. Usually only wealthy families in Guatemala can afford Montessori schools. Parents feel it is a vital community asset especially in comparison to the overcrowded underfunded classrooms of local government funded schools which are also only 1/2 day programs. If the children in our community have a good education they can lift themselves and their families out of poverty. It is very gratifying to see our graduates that can secure the tuition for secondary school go onto university. They now have careers in areas such as social work, photography , computer programming, accounting, teaching and nursing - just to name a few.
The Montessori School's Wish List:
Our greatest need right now is financial support. Our foundation in the United States, the UPAVIM Community Development Foundation (UCDF) has the task of raising US$50,000 a year to keep our school open.
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