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Weaving time!

(Gallery) The third-grade students had a fun and interesting visit by Dominga, the mother of Morelia, their teacher. She is an expert traditional weaver and came to school to share amazing moments and her knowledge with the third graders. This happened within the block of crafts and... read more

This is for you!

It has been twelve years already since this journey began. It feels like a dream when you realize how many stories have been told and how many lives have been affected positively since this project began, back then, in a small room, and fueled by nothing but a bunch of children playing while their parents were chatting about ways to change the world. Escuela Carcol, Guatemala Back then, the group of students was formed by less than twelve kids, most of them from different cultures. Now, the body of students is formed by more than one hundred children where 85% of them come from local Mayan families from the towns of the western side of Lake Atitlan, who are benefited by the scholarships program that lets them access to quality education on the first and only Waldorf School in Guatemala. We don’t know if anyone thought Escuela Caracol was going to grow as fast as it did, but we are sure that it was built driven by love, with the premise of doing as much as possible to promote positive changes in the lives of children from Lake Atitlan.   We remember where does Escuela Caracol comes from, and know where it is heading. What we must never forget is that it is thanks to the dreamers that founded this marvelous project that we have a trail to follow, that will lead us to continue nurturing heads, hearts, and hands of children for many years to come.     Today, we have only one word for them, the ones that gave birth to Escuela Caracol, and for all of... read more

Twelve years nurturing heads, hearts, and hands of children.

Recently, we celebrated the twelfth anniversary of Escuela Caracol. It was a fun journey that began with a Mayan Ceremony and was followed by amazing presentations from our students; the Rally, where families participated; the lunchtime, where we shared a delicious “tamal de arroz”; and the cake. Teachers Sandra and Emiliana were the hostesses of the show. Teacher Maribel told a brief version of the school’s history. The students gave us an unforgettable show, where all of them, from kindergarten to sixth grade, sang and danced. All the teachers did a great job coordinating each of the acts. All of the presentations were beautiful, although, the number held by teacher Diego and the first and second-grade students, “Mi Escuela Caracol”, was one of the highlights of the show, as it involved all the parents and guests of the celebration. We all had a delicious “Tamal de arroz”. After this, we got together to sing the “happy birthday” to our school, to be followed by eating the cake. We also had a raffle that left an income of Q1125.00. We want to show our appreciation to everyone who donated the gifts that were used as the prizes, and to all the people who bought the raffle numbers. every contribution, big or small, is deeply appreciated. All the funds gathered on this specific activity went directly to the healthy snacks program that benefits all of our students. It was incredible and satisfying to see how the intercultural characteristic of Escuela Caracol is getting established on each of the families of our School. We had guests from many countries, from Guatemala city... read more

And this is where plants come from!

To know and understand the way the natural cycles work is a basic part of becoming a fully developed human being. Recently, both of our kindergarten groups shared a small frame of land with the purpose of planting seeds. The land was previously prepared by Chico, the head gardener of our school; it was with his guide, that the students learned where and how to perform this task. Planting seeds is an excellent exercise to develop some of the multiple dimensions of the students:  – It lets the children experiment interest in taking care of something they are responsible for.  – It is the first part of a cycle where the students will witness the cycle of life of a plant, meanwhile developing their will, patience, and concentration as they have to follow specific and concrete instructions. – It is an exercise that lets students get in touch with the soil, rocks, small bugs, and plants while growing their sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for nature.  During this journey,  our kindergarten students learned about natural cycles, they developed their patience and responsibility, they also exercised their motor skills and touch. How could you not love this little... read more

First Grade Flutes Delivery Act:

Every year something special happens in the first-grade classroom, the “flute delivery act” takes place. This is a ceremony where the music teacher delivers the flute to each of the students, setting up the path to learning how to play a melodic instrument. Everything began a few days before when the teacher told a story about a magic flute to the first-grade students, this was the preparation for the “flute delivery act”. Within the tale, the teacher described the importance of the musical instrument and the way the students should behave when playing the flute and how they should take care of it. The flute delivery represents one of the most important moments for the first-grade students for its deeper meaning: having an instrument under their responsibility means they are no longer little children and are ready now to perform much more difficult and demanding tasks. The faces of joy and illusion showed by each of them can do nothing but to enrich the will to serve and to continue nurturing heads, hearts, and hands of the children from the western region of Lake... read more

San Marcos la Laguna’s town parade

Every year between the end of April and the first days of May, San Marcos la Laguna celebrates the festivity of “San Marcos Evangelista”. These times are packed with tradition, music, food, fireworks, pageants, parades and an overwhelming sense of joy among the community.  Escuela Caracol is constantly looking for ways to bond and participate in activities promoted by the community, whether they are institutional or purely traditional; That’s the case with the annual Town’s parade, where our school is always invited to walk the streets of San Marcos la Laguna together with all of the local public educational institutes. We got together early in the morning at the school facilities to represent, later that day, our beloved school on the parade.  Some of our students wore their most beautiful and picturesque traditional clothing, the rest wore their colorful Escuela Caracol’s t-shirts, all of them carried their most pure and beautiful smile. Parents, students, siblings, teachers, staff, and friends walked proudly all over town. The parade concluded at the public basketball court, where the San Marco’s Mayor gave a speech accompanied by the Elderlies Council and other authorities. It’s always such a pleasant feeling to see all the members of the Caracol family sharing and having such good times together. This sort of activities lets our students share their uniqueness with the community and project Escuela Caracol’s spirit outside our facilities... read more

You are so cool, Wila!

Every single person that has visited Escuela Caracol has something special that makes them stand out from the crowd. For some, it could be the kindness, for others, the will to give and serve, and so on. Shortening the idea, we are always blessed with beautiful people visiting the school, this makes us feel more joyful and loved than we already are. Wila is a girl that just graduated from high school and already has a really clear idea of what she wants to do with her life: change the world through education. This calling made her the ideal volunteer for our school. It was incredible how fast she adapted every way possible and how she gained a special place on the lives of everyone at Escuela Caracol. If you didn’t know her before, you could have easily thought she was already a teacher or a student graduated from a Waldorf school, but she is not, she is just a regular high school student with a great heart and a beautiful mind wide opened to the world.  The size of her heart and incredible ways to connect with the children are going to take her farther than the moon on her journey. Wila, we wish you the best an will be waiting for you on your next summer break.... read more

Hunting Easter eggs

There are special seasons that, for their pedagogical value, deserve to be celebrated. That’s the case with the Easter, a season that represents the beginning of a new cycle, how something ends and can start from scratch. On the morning of the 23d of April, all of our students got a special surprise from their teachers, they prepared, the day before, a pack of Easter eggs for their students to hunt. While everyone was at their own classrooms, our dear Enrique hid all the eggs on the garden so all the children could go straight to look for them once the lunch break came. Faces of joy and excitement filled the gardens of our school once the first eggs started showing up, the frenzy invaded trails and plant-beds while all the children revolved leaves and branches on the look for such delicious treasures. What a nice experiences for everyone at school to see children laughing and enjoying this... read more

We don’t need to leave the classroom to travel.

Our sixth-grade students are currently studying geography. They have been traveling through South America with the guidance of Diego, their teacher, he has taken them to know the traditions, political organization, geography, touristic spots and landmarks, nature, among other quite important information. The lesson begins when Diego, aided with the blackboard and chalk illustrations, tells the students general information about the country being studied on that specific date. They continue by copying all the elements presented on the blackboard into their notebooks, these will become their guide-books to study and review what has been studied in the classroom. After finishing copying, a discussion on the subject happens, at this time, the students have the chance to tell their own experiences or thoughts regarding the subject studied. It could be resumed like this: first they get the input on a new subject by listening to their teacher and watching the blackboard arts, second: they copy the illustrations and texts made by the teacher on the blackboard, third: they discuss the subject and make the new information acquired part of their own living experience. This is how teachers get students to really learn and comprehend their classroom subjects, keeping the students interested and eager to learn... read more

Sharing chocolate and bread as a great family.

The relation between everyone here at Escuela Caracol surpasses the cordiality, it reaches a deeper ground where it can be called family. On the last day before the “Holy Week”, our caracolitos celebrated the local tradition of sharing chocolate, bread and honey. The students from sixth grade visited the first graders; the fifth graders visited teacher Sandra’s kindergarten group; the fourth grade caracolitos shared with the third graders; and, teacher Maribel’s kindergarten group visited the second grade classroom. Our students shared stories, songs, games, bread and the delicious chocolate our dear Teresa prepared for all of us. Taking advantage of its intercultural characteristics, Escuela Caracol promotes the cultural exchange between students.  We are much more than a group of people sharing a common interest, we are a family building... read more

Pizza & fractions

One of the most ussual comments among children attending school is about how difficult or boring maths can be. Surprise! That’s not the case at all at Escuela Caracol. Continue reading and you’ll see why we can assure this. Our fourth graders are a group of wild kids, they all love running, climbing on trees, treasure hunting on the garden, we’ll, you can complete the image. They are anything but quiet, silent, boring children. This grade is currently studying Fractions on their math block. You may ask, how could a teacher keep a group like that interested in such a difficult subject? Easy, by making and doing while learning.  As one of their final exercises they cooked two pizzas with the main goal of learning fractions while having a good time. They didn’t even notice the moment where they learned to make the toughest operations for someone their age. As they where mixing the ingredients, slicing the red peppers, or cutting the pizza slizes they where in fact learning math, this was explained during and after the activities by teacher Nacho. On this activities they have the chance of learning more than just a subject, they can develop will, concentration, social skills, cooking, math; and the best part of it is that they have great times that keeps them interested on the subjects and happy to return to school the day... read more

Do you know the numbers?

Our lovely first graders are learning so much while studying their math block, number by number, comprehending the meaning of each and not only memorizing the names and the shapes. We are so proud of them! Do you know the numbers? you may ask, the answer is simple, yes I do!Can you write the numbers? you may ask, the answer is quite simple, of course, I can! Following the teacher’s directions, copying the traces made on the blackboard we learn and exercise the way to express quantities and numbers. The number one, made of two straight traces; The number two, of one straight and one curved line;Number three comes out of two small arches that look like twin rainbows standing up. Do you know the numbers? you may ask, the answer is simple, yes I do!Can you write the numbers? you may ask, the answer is quite simple, of course, I can! Number four, made of three straight lines, the one standing is really tall, and the other two are: one inclined to the left and one horizontal;The five is more complicated, two straight lines, one vertical and one horizontal, accompanied by a half-circle on the base;The six is the funniest one, it looks like a spiral, just like the one on the shell of a snail. Do you know the numbers? you may ask, the answer is simple, yes I can!Can you write the numbers? you may ask, the answer is quite simple, of course, I can! The seven looks a lot like the number one, but it means six figures grater, if you draw the number one... read more

Kindergarten’s first adventure outside the school

As a part of the children formation, our kindergarten students take weekly walks on the school gardens. These walks are really useful when developing social skills, will, physical abilities, observation capabilities, among many others. Along with some of the student’s mothers, our kindergarten students had their year’s first walk outside the school. Teacher Sandra’s group visited the home of two of our beloved caracolitos, Bjorn and Bertril, they all had an amazing picnic and playtime at the gardens of the Pineda family’s house. Teacher Maribel’s group went on a walk on the mountain’s forest behind the school, they had the chance to observe lots of beautiful plants and animals they found on their way. They all had incredible times that can be reflected on the way the happily apply what they experienced to their playtime activities. We continue giving our best effort to give our children the tools to become integral human beings by nurturing their heads, hearts, and hands. Photos by teacher Sandra... read more

Reflections for Escuela Caracol

Hello dear friends of Escuela Caracol, I have been home for more than a month and finally I can speak about my experiences as a volunteer for 5 weeks at Kinder Caracol just as the new school year began. I knew it would be a special opportunity to return to a Waldorf classroom, to observe the opening of school, the welcoming of new children experiencing school for the first time. I did not know what a profoundly healing and life changing experience it would be for me personally. I got in touch with Life itself, with each living plant and each human being and the sacredness of all of our relationships. These lines from John O’Donahue’s poem ‘In Celebration” capture much of my experience: “Now is the time to free the heart/Let all intentions and worries stop/Free the joy inside the self/Awaken to the wonder of your life. Open your eyes and see the friends/Whose hearts recognize your face as kin/Those whose kindness watchful and near/Encourages you to live everything here.” This is what your school offered me. This is what the children experience everyday. There is love and warmth in all that you do. It was magical for me to stand as a colleague in the spiral labyrinth every morning in a circle of dedicated teachers sharing Steiner’s verses. It was transforming for me to be greeted every morning with such love and respect. And then my heart filled with joy as I observed Maestra Maribel and Maestra Sandra greet each children every day with such reverence, love and honor. I saw even the most scared children on... read more

Movimiento Caracol 2019, so happy together!

Last March the 30th we celebrated the third edition of Movimiento Caracol, an activity that gathered students, teachers, families, and friends on the same place and for the same reason, build community and support the scholarships program of Escuela Caracol. Everything began at 8 am when teachers and some volunteers got together at the town’s “Concha Acustica” to get everything ready for what was going to happen that same day during the afternoon. Soundchecks, a huge sign, electricity, tables, fire lamps, and joy flooded the whole area, everyone seemed eager to give their best effort to make this “Movimiento Caracol” an event to remember. The show began at 2 pm, the first number of the program had our Caracolitos as stars, whom along with their teachers, they presented a beautiful choreography as a gift to everyone attending (you can see a small video of this on our facebook fan page), after that, the whole thing ran smoothly, music, circus, magic, clowning, our raffle and the auction of three amazing paintings made by our Gardening teacher, Santiago; our pedagogical advisor, Gloria Elena; and one painted on location during the activity by our beloved friend Rolando. All the families got organized to bring delicious dishes: pulique, fried chicken, chuchitos, vegan pizza, cakes, popcorn, drinks, hamburgers, tamales, and many many other delightful meals. The raffle gave incredible prizes; stayings at fancy hotels, organic products, clothing, and many more. All of them were donated by kind friends that disinterestedly gave us all of this with nothing on their minds but to help the school. In the end, between the raffle, the food, the... read more

This post is also available in: Spanish