Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.
Escuela Caracol is a Waldorf kindergarten and primary school on Lake Atitlán that offers a model for educational renewal centered on serving the needs of the whole child – head, heart and hands.
Escuela Caracol does not simply seek to impart information but rather to foster inner transformation that awakens self-knowledge, an appreciation for others, and a sense of responsibility to the world.
Teachers strive to perceive the invisible potential of each child, like a seed, and use the curriculum as a tool to meet the child in his her particular stage of development. The role of the teacher is to remove any obstacles that may stand in the child’s particular path, while also developing the skills and inner capacities needed to accomplish his or her goals.
Escuela Caracol strives for an intercultural partnership between the indigenous and non-indigenous families that make up the Lake Atitlán community, acknowledging the modern, globalized world while also honoring local Maya traditions. Escuela Caracol is founded on the belief that this partnership has something unique and important to offer to the world.
The caracol (ka ra kól), or snail shell, carries great significance in Latin America, and especially within Maya culture. Its typical spiral formation symbolizes the integration of all life’s facets into a common whole. The caracol is a symbol of life and community that is both ancient and contemporary, functional and decorative, profound and playful. For us, it is also an emblem of learning as it represents:
- A holistic and encompassing outlook that suggests continual growth and balance.
- A natural progression from the center outward, presenting all subjects in their relationship to humans.
- An abstract concept rooted in the concrete world, gradually progressing from the more immediate and even tactile to the more distant and intangible.
- A perennial cycle of forgetting and remembering, where subjects and themes are revisited annually for a given term and expanded upon each successive year in an ascending spiral.
This post is also available in: Spanish