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Psicology students from Rafael Landivar University visit Escuela Caracol

On June, the 27th, we had the visit of a group of psychology students from Rafael Landivar University, they came escorted by Msc. Fabiola Hurtado, Coordinator of the Landivarian Center of Psychology (Centro Landivariano de Psicología). Within their visit, they had a tour on our school, observed the pedagogical process on classrooms and received a conference where they learned about Waldorf pedagogy, the importance of the first two septenniums in human development, and an exposition of students handworks. The main subject of interest studied during the visit was how alternative ways of education can avoid learning issues, frustration and learning rejection from... read more

Fairy Tales:

Fairy tales are one of the preferred activities of kindergarten students, they are told four times, students participate in all of them in different ways.

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Letter from a visitor

Letter from a Visitor It is a unique experience to arrive at your home as a visitor. That’s in many ways what it feels like for me and my daughter, Mirabai, to come for a short visit during our spring break vacation. We were both rather nervous as we entered the front gate of Escuela Caracol, but the shouting of our names from across the garden and the warm hugs quickly put us at ease. Mirabai joined her class almost as if she had never left. They welcomed her like family. For those who know the school but who have not visited recently, I am thrilled to report that this little school with a big heart is filled with shining faces and vitality. It is still “the school where the students are happy;” it is still la Familia Caracol. After our family’s departure last July, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on this visit. What I found is a school that is vibrant yet grounded. I was struck by how human and authentic it feels, even as it is teeming with diversity — of language, culture, ways of seeing the world. It is such a stark contrast from the typical North American experience. Something special, something magical is slow-cooking at Escuela Caracol. The day I arrived the students were preparing a song, “El Nuevo Dia,” (the new day) to perform the following Saturday in town. After that rehearsal, the fifth and sixth grades practiced guitar outside under the shade of some trees. Meanwhile the pedagogical director was in the kitchen preparing chocolate for an activity with that same... read more

A night with the moon and the stars.

On Friday, august the third, as a part of the Astronomy block, the sixth grade group had a beautiful gathering called “A night with the moon and the stars”, this, to observe the changes in the sky during sunset and sunrise. This type of activities complements the learning experience, exceeding the academical subjects and looking for the integral growth of our students. ... read more

Eurythmic experts visits Escuela Caracol

Eurythmics is one of the main subjects Rudolf Steiner suggested as a part of the regular education every person should cultivate. Escuela Caracol had the visit of two expert eurythmists, Siebe Martínez Bloembergen and Ruth Bloembergen Martínez.  Between 2010 and 2011, Siebe and Ruth studied a Bachelor in Pedagogical Eurythmics as a Social Eurythmics Program in La Haye (Netherlands), Lugano (Switzerland), Nant-y-cum (Wales) y Sekem (Egypt) and have been working eurythmics together since. Currently they live in El Salvador and work at the “Escuela Nacional de Danza” with children, teenagers and teachers from public schools; they also work an anthroposophy project at “Tutunichappa IV” community. They arrived to Escuela Caracol on July the 30th and stayed for almost a week, sharing all their knowledge with teachers, students and rest of the community.  During their visit, they worked independently with each of the school grades; they also gave an introductory workshop on eurythmics to teachers and community members. As a final activity and present to Escuela Caracol, our rhythmic friends prepared and produced the play “sleeping beauty from the forest” by the Grimm brothers; Siebe was in charge of musicalization and special effects; Ruth directed the play, and all of the first grade students played the roles. This was performed at la Palapa with the whole school as an... read more

Flute delivery act

Recently, the “flute delivery act” took place in the first grade classroom, during this activity children were given their first pentatonic flute. Diego, their teacher, indicates that the flute gets to become a friend for children, and that, at a pedagogical level, it is a great tool to develop movement coordination, rhythm and memory. For the children, receiving their first flute is an unforgettable memory, for being a personal gift and the first melodic instrument they’ll ever... read more

Todo de la escuela, 2017

Las fotos de cada clase, tomado en febrero. Los primeros dos son nuestras clases de Kinder… y despúes, primer, segundo, tercer, cuarto, y quinto/sexto grados.     ... read more

How the First Classroom Was Built

In 2017, Escuela Caracol celebrates its 10th year. In honor of this anniversary we are recounting our history and remembering how this happy sanctuary came to be, with a campaign called “10 Years of Stories.” To begin, here’s our origin story, from Dr. Allen Wilson, father of co-founder Joshua Wilson: When my wife, Suzanne and I, first visited the property on which the school exists, the only building existing was what is now the office and area outside the office (plus a small bodega). This building was the home of Joshua and Courtney, the founders, for many months.  The first classroom to be built is the classroom which is adjacent and just down the steps from the the kitchen.  At that time there was only a couple of trees and lots of boulders and rocks on that site.  Josh’s vision for the classroom was that it be built as a Golden Rectangle, whose dimensions are based on the Golden Ratio, also known as the Divine Proportion.  What exists today is the result of this vision, and the hard work done by the first Guardian of the school, Nicolás Sacach Mendoza.  Nicolás had been working on the property where the school is located since 2001, and continued to do so when the school was founded in 2007.  The memory I want to share is of the groundbreaking for the new classroom in July of 2007.  From the moment the first shovel full of dirt was lifted, we realized that building a classroom on the existing property would be a huge task.  Every thrust of a shovel seem to hit rock.  The more we dug,... read more

The First Annual Jocote Festival

On October 30, 2016, Escuela Caracol held its first formal Jocote Festival, inviting vendors, musicians and visitors from around Lake Atitlán. This festival was held with a threefold purpose: to help raise money for Escuela Caracol, to invite the regional community to get to know the school, and to celebrate the harvest season and local traditions of this time of year. The Jocote Festival was a great success, with over 300 people attending. Chief among the harvest in San Marcos is the jocote (see below about jocotes), but other important harvests include corn and many types of squash. This time of year is also when the Day of the Dead is celebrated and loved ones who have passed are remembered. Associated with this holiday in Guatemala are two important traditions: flying kites and making coronas, which are colorful wreaths of cypress branches and flowers which are taken to adorn grave sites. At the Jocote Festival the Caracol first grade class hosted a corona-making workshop while the sixth graders offered a kite-making workshop. In addition to the workshops, harvest foods, musicians and vendors, games were offered with special local themes, like a jocote seed spitting contest and races carrying baskets on top the head.       Rounding off the event toward the end of the day was a special guitar performance by Caracol’s sixth graders, now calling themselves Flor de Jocote. (“Jocote Flower”). Watch their performance below! It was a beautiful day with a warm and lively atmosphere, and we look forward to developing it further in the years to come. WHAT IS A JOCOTE? The jocote ( is a special fruit in... read more

Master Waldorf Teachers from Switzerland Visit Caracol

At the end of August, Escuela Caracol was blessed once again by the visit of master Waldorf teachers who wanted to volunteer their time with us. This time, we were fortunate to receive Felix and Beatrice Zimmermann from the Rudolf Steiner School of Wetzikon, Switzerland. Felix specializes in the primary and secondary grades, and Beatrice is a kindergarten teacher, so they make an excellent pair. They spent a total of three weeks at Caracol, observing classes, mentoring teachers, and giving talks and workshops on Waldorf education. One of Felix’s talks was on the “Musical Moods and their Significance in Education.” Here is a short video of him playing the flute. Another very special contribution they made was the addition of a beautiful spinning wheel to our handwork equipment. Beatrice spent considerable time showing our kindergarten teachers and handwork teacher how to use it. The children are at once intrigued and comforted by its use in the classroom. Thank you, Felix and Beatrice! The Zimmermann’s visit was made possible in part by the generosity of Caracol neighbors, Ron and Kim Wilhelm, who donated the use of their gorgeous house for the Zimmermanns. Many thanks, Ron and Kim!... read more

Vermont Meets Guatemala

In February, Escuela Caracol was fortunate to host a group of Waldorf students and parents from the state of Vermont in the US. The family who organized the visit is a Caracol alumna family, the Devoe Tallutos. Their family of five spent a year at Caracol in 2009, and since then they have returned to visit us many times. This year they decided to invite members of their community at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Vermont come along with them. In total, they were a group of 14 students and parents who were interested in both Guatemala and Waldorf education. While at Escuela Caracol, the group worked tirelessly on a number of projects: they built a new coop for our chickens and a small pond for turtles, they designed and made costumes for our class 4/5 play, and they refinished the doors on the primary grades classrooms (which were in a sad state from the extremities of sun and rain here). They even took their break times to play with our students and show them how to make jump ropes. During their weeklong visit, they also found time to pour the foundation of a local home, climb a moutain peak to watch the sunrise over the lake, attend a dance class at La Cambalacha, learn how to make tortillas, kayak on the lake, take in many sights, and of course go swimming. Their work was a huge help to Escuela Caracol, and the visit was equally meaningful to the group. Many of the students are already talking about their next visit to Guatemala. Escuela Caracol sends its thanks to this... read more

What’s Rome Got to Do with It?

Several years ago, after my class 5/6 had completed their performance of a Roman history themed play, a local indigenous parent at Escuela Caracol asked me, “Why are our children even studying Roman history? It feels so foreign and remote from our Mayan culture, and its legacy of conquest is such an ugly stain on the Americas. What does Rome really have to do with us anyway?” I contended that one could not fully understand our modern globalized world without some knowledge of and feeling for Ancient Rome. I also pointed out that he himself is a member of the (Roman) Catholic Church. It was a healthy interchange that left a lasting impression on me of the critical importance of bringing such historical studies into living conversation with our local Mayan context. At the start of this year, our current sixth grade teacher, Diego Sacach Mendoza, approached me for help in planning his first block of the year: Ancient Rome. He was enthused and energetic to learn more about this subject and bring it to his class of all indigenous students. So we started at the beginning, with the founding myth of Rome: Romulus and Remus. These two boys, fathered by Mars and raised by a she-wolf, eventually decide to lay claim to their respective territories. Romulus builds a wall to keep out uninvited guests, Remus flaunts his disrespect for this wall by jumping over it, Romulus slays his brother Remus, and thus Rome is founded. Diego stopped me there. When he was a child, he said, there were no walls whatsoever in San Marcos. People had lands that... read more

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