Many organizations in Guatemala focus on increasing access to primary and secondary education, but very few include pre-primary education, especially in rural areas. Aula Mágica’s focus on pre-primary education addresses the problem at the root cause and prepares children to not only attend school, but stay in school and succeed once they reach the primary level.
The following is an overview of recent accomplishments at Aula Mágica.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
- January: Hosted their first staff training of the year. 25 Youth Facilitators and 3 Community Coordinators were in attendance from Quiché, Huehuetenango, Sololá, and Retalhuleu. One training, “Sensory Perception”, focused on important activities involving the five senses, and trained the teachers on exercises they can easily do in the classroom to stimulate the senses and to reinforce learning in Aula Mágica learning corners.
- February: Completed the thorough and very important task of checking the weight, height and hemoglobin of each of their 215 children. This process is part of their nutritional program, which aims to improve the overall health of their students and counteract the high rate of malnutrition in rural areas of Guatemala.
- March: Community Coordinators met with the students’ families to address cleaning at home, hygiene, and nutrition, as well as other important issues. Meetings are held every three months and sessions are a critical part of getting the children off to a great start. Parents always express sincere gratitude for the visits, saying that the children learn so many things in the Aula Mágica classroom that allow them to be successful in the first grade. The school principals agree stating: “the children enter first grade with knowledge that we can build on that year and help them move forward.”
- May & June: Carried out the task of visiting every Aula Mágica classroom across Quiché, Sololá, Retalhuleu, and Huehuetenango. These visits are important in order to monitor the instructors, training material, and overall quality of care. During the months of May and June, Aula Mágica also visited and researched communities in Huehuetenango and Sololá where there is a severe gap in services. Aula Mágica hopes to establish classrooms and support these communities in the coming year. Aula Magica has also opened one more classroom in addition to the five they are already operating, In El Quiché. There are 15 children in the new classroom.
- July: Excited to welcome an American videographer who donated his time to create a video featuring Aula Mágica’s work in many different communities. We will be sure to share the video with you once it’s complete! In July, Aula Mágica is also hosting their second training for 2019- we will share an update on this training in a few months as well.
AULA MÁGICA SUCCESSES
Aula Mágica welcomed a total of 215 children, spanning 22 different classrooms throughout rural, marginalized communities in Guatemala during this quarter. The students have successfully learned their colors, letters, numbers and even geometric shapes!
Quotes from the Aula Mágica Team:
“To have children with educational knowledge and prepare them for their first year of primary school, is our greatest goal and mission”
“To be able to provide preschool education in these remote areas, it brings us great satisfaction and a good challenge to our program, to travel to remote areas where this type of education does not exist and to see the benefit and success in each of our children!”
“We are also very proud to have young facilitators who are leaders in their communities and who are learning every day, to assist in their communities and help to improve themselves professionally.”
VISIT TO AN AULA MÁGICA CLASSROOM
GoPhilanthropic’s Program Manager Christina visited Aula Mágica in May and was invited to observe Senorita Astrid’s classroom, which is housed in a room in the public library. Christina loved the colorful, active space and describes it below:
“The difference between an Aula Mágica classroom and a classroom we might be familiar with in other countries is that the teaching materials are almost all handmade or recycled. With the exception of books, paper and crayons and some limited craft supplies –which are handed out sparingly –all of the teaching materials have been repurposed.”
Christina also joined the classroom in a letter game, the students pointed out the first letter of their name on the wall and once everyone had identified their letter, they moved their tables for a craft project! The kids decorated their initials with leaves, recycled paper and cut-outs from magazines. This is an outstanding example of Aula Mágica’s resourcefulness while also teaching the importance of recycling and sustainability.
The day finished with an audio guide and verbal quiz about the alphabet and shapes.
FROM THE COMMUNITY
“I am very grateful for the chance my son has to learn his letters and his numbers here, before going to first grade. It is very hard for us to afford school and we want him to be successful if we are able to send him. Having been at Aula Mágica will be a big step forward for him in first grade.”
“I thank the Magical Classroom program because in this community there is no preschool for the children to attend and it is a lot of help for the children to succeed in primary school! I am proud that my children get the chance to learn different educational activities every day!”
As you can see from the above, Aula Mágica has been very busy supporting the young kids and families of rural communities in Guatemala. We want to take this moment to thank everyone who partners with GoPhilanthropic and Aula Mágica. Your continued involvement in this partnership has helped transform the lives of so many kids in Guatemala who would otherwise not have access to pre-primary education.
We are so thankful for the endless compassion, involvement and trust in GoPhil and our global partners.