At the Hermanos Ayar neighborhood social center, the Las Hormiguitas kindergarten has welcomed children for a new academic year in the beginning of March. How joyful it is to start back at a normal rhythm after the two years disturbed by Covid-19. The school and social center’s directors share with you some news and impressions about the first day of school of the year. A big step has also been taken for Huchuy Yachaq, the launch of project Mama Killa, financed by our organization, will provide sewing training for 23 women in order for them to have a stable and payed activity. The program’s director shares with you the first steps of the project.
Diana, Las Hormiguitas’ director and teacher of the Inti Nañ class (3 years old)
“We started the 2022 academic year with a new educational proposal: to expand the number of hours spent in classes of body and art expression for children aged 3, 4 and 5. We now incorporate plastic arts, theater, gymnastics, choir and crafts workshops.
We also pay great attention to nutrition: we prioritize their development and growth by giving them healthy menus (meals and snacks during school) which help the development process because a lot of children do not have a balanced diet at home.
This educational approach makes every learning experience active-participatory, everyone of us is a guide, a significant learning model, that provides the basics to children for them to develop their independence and to grow up harmoniously, balancing and developing their motor skills, preparation, motivation to read and write, to solve problems involving mathematical relationships and operations according to their needs and context, in an integrated manner.
With all of this we also always look ahead, knowing in our hearts we are a family that can face the different challenges put on our path, appreciating the faces and smiles while developing the children’s capacities and skills which in turn reinforces our comprehensive education. ” Diana
“Nous avons commencé l’année scolaire 2022 avec une nouvelle proposition éducative : amplifier le nombre d’heures d’apprentissages d’expression corporelle et artistique pour les enfants, âgé.e.s de 3, 4 et 5 ans. Nous intégrons désormais des ateliers d’arts plastiques, de théâtre, de gymnastique, de chorale et de travaux manuels.
Une attention particulière est également portée à l’alimentation : nous priorisons leur développement et leur croissance en fournissant des menus équilibrés (repas et en-cas sur le temps d’école) qui les aident dans leur processus de développement, car de nombreux enfants ne reçoivent pas une alimentation équilibrée à la maison.
Cette approche éducative rend chaque expérience d’apprentissages active-participative, où chacun.e de nous sert de guides, de modèles d’apprentissage significatifs livrant les bases à ces petit.e.s pour qu’ils.elles développent leur autonomie et grandissent harmonieusement, en équilibrant et en développant leurs habiletés motrices, la préparation, la motivation pour la lecture et l’écriture, pour la résolution de problèmes impliquant des relations et des opérations mathématiques selon leurs besoins et leur contexte de manière intégrée.
Tout cela, en regardant toujours vers l’avant et en mettant dans nos cœurs que nous sommes une famille capable de faire face aux différents défis qui se présentent à nous, en appréciant les visages, les sourires, en développant leurs compétences et leurs capacités qui renforcent une éducation intégrale.”
Back to school, Marlene – founder and general coordinator of the Huchuy Yachaq social center
“On the 10th of March, the ministry of education has confirmed children could attend classes in person again in 18 regions of our country, taking into account the specific factors of each region.
After two years of absence, the expectations as well as the challenges and difficulties were high.
For a family with two children of school age, coming back to school represents the opportunity to get a better education, especially because of the virtual access limitations affecting the majority of the population that depends on an informal and/or occasional work. The education is better on one hand because of the instruction and the possibility to develop socialization by sharing with pairs and enjoying places such as school where you can make friends. But on the other hand, it causes different economic problems to the families because the parents will have to buy uniforms, books, school supplies, daily bus tickets, snacks, etc. This is added to the fact that the economic recovery is not yet underway. Furthermore, the political situation affects that economic recovery and creates a climate of uncertainty and corruption.
However, childhood is, without a doubt, a stage full of energy, a positive and strong energy that keeps on transferring the innocence, strength and desire to learn even through difficulties.
On the 3rd of March, when we welcomed the 54 Las Hormiguitas children, we witnessed their great energy and unwavering desire to live and learn. The face-to-face teaching gives the opportunity to children to have unique experiences, to familiarize themselves with their educative space, and life in the classroom with their fellow students and the teachers. We also had the chance to welcome enthusiastic parents, committed to their children’s education, worried about the situations they encounter but also happy to see their children attend their first years of school.
We keep on following these families by gathering their hopes, expectations and realities. Activities had to be adapted to counter the confinement’s emotional impact. We now offer theater as well as plastic arts, music, choir and gymnastics workshops.
The drawing classes have changed into plastic arts, music is used in dance classes. Because of this, we have extended the opening hours of the kindergarten from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (instead of 1 p.m. the previous years.) The parents can therefore stay at work longer while knowing their children are well because they are at kindergarten.
An agreement with the Gestal Institute also supports the organization of group and family therapies as well as individual and parental workshops to create a dynamic learning community.
Instead of distributing snacks during the break like we used to, we now cook lunch, which gives the children the opportunity to eat a healthy and full meal at school. We go back to our discovery of the city, its parks, sports equipments, we celebrate our holidays and perpetuate our identity and traditions. And of course, we maintain a strict biosecurity protocol to avoid new Covid-19 cases.
Today, we have to take the path that leads to a reunion so we can keep on creating safer, warmer, and fairer spaces for children, and thus contribute to the creation of a fairer and more welcoming world.”
Workshop time, William – plastic arts teacher
“During the first sessions with the children, it became clear that they had been affected by the confinement, some felt scared, frustrated, angry or sad. That is why it is essential to make time for them to express their emotions. This particular context also shows how well young people can adapt, change their behavior, and increase their abilities to learn and coexist. At the plastic arts workshop, we want to give all students the same possibilities to approach learning. Girls and boys are free to take initiatives to develop their artistic works, to explore different materials and interact positively with one another.
There remains a lot of work to be done to ensure that every child develops well, and to reach our objectives as an educational institution. That challenge still has to be met. I genuinely wish for our children to enjoy this stage of their lives. I want them to laugh, jump, run, debate, share and live fully.”
MAMA KILLA – C. Molina, project coordinator
“The project Learning and undertaking for gender equality in times of pandemic was born from the research of new opportunities for the mothers of the Hermanos Ayar social center.
We started by sticking up posters in the neighborhood and speaking to the interested mothers. They were curious when they heard about the project. They timidly asked about the price and the duration of the workshop. They were visibly happy when we told them the workshop would be free, that we had all the confidence in the world in their capacity to learn and would love for them to participate.
The team gathered half an hour before the first meeting to prepare the presentation and the topics to be discussed, we were impatient and a little bit anxious to know how many mothers would come.
One by one they arrived, sometimes a little late or with babies in their arms. The meeting took place in the middle of the noise of the children and the mothers talking about their everyday life. At that moment we understood it would be necessary to open a daycare service for the project to be directed properly.
We made a dynamic presentation. The mothers were nervous but excited by what we could do. Some of them, that had already followed workshops before, opened the dialog by encouraging others to participate for their future and the collective project. Some rules on the group life were agreed upon and schedules were formalized.
Then, we created socio-economic data sheets. It was surprising for us to realize that most of them indicated they were dependent on their partner. It seemed normal for them, and maybe neither them nor us understood the consequences of that dependence.
After the meeting, we were facing major problems: finding a place for the workshop took more time than expected, and there were not any instructors available, those that were had to decline because the time it took to go to the neighborhood was just too long. We thought we had found the good person for the job (willing and experienced) but the compensation asked for was discouraging.
But it does not matter, the teacher, the director, we are all committed to doing an excellent job. The needs are big, the process to create the project is and will be hard.
The results of the practical training are uncertain, but from experience we know we can change lives. We have a great opportunity to empower 20 women and to give them the means to be an example to follow in the neighborhood, to identify all forms of violence and to keep it from happening ever again. We are giving them the possibility to generate their own revenue, to be independent and to change their own reality.
I would like to conclude by underlining the fact that, in the many encouraging elements of this project, two stand out: first, the great commitment of the agents involved, the director and the volunteers that understand the final objective and are doing all that is possible to achieve it. And second, the great dynamism and assertiveness of the mothers that had already helped a lot, even before the beginning of the project. Because of that, we have an experimented and enthusiastic teacher, a room ready to be used, 23 mothers committed and enterprising and almost 6 sewing machines in operation (soon to be 10).”
To support the Las Hormiguitas kindergarten and follow its students, you can sponsor one of its classes. To know more, click here.