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Wendalyn von Meyenfeldt brings Eurythmy to Escuela Caracol

Escuela Caracol has had the great honor of receiving for several weeks Eurythmy teacher Wendalyn von Meyenfeldt, who is visiting us from the Vancouver Waldorf School. During this time, teacher Wendalyn has worked directly with school staff, families and children. It is with great joy and excitement that we share this letter that she wrote for us. Thank you very much for blessing us with your presence, teacher! There are many beautiful flowers growing on the shores and hillsides of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I don’t know the names of many of them, but I do know one beautiful ‘flower‘, and that is Escuela Caracol. I am a Eurythmy (movement) teacher at the Vancouver Waldorf School in Vancouver, Canada, and I have just spent three weeks as a ‘guest teacher’ at this unique and wonderful school. The teachers and administrators at Escuela Caracol are all dedicated and loving gardeners, helping the school to flourish and grow. They have planted and cultivated seeds of learning, healing, nourishment and hope in the hearts of their young charges and in the community. I am very impressed by the school’s vision and achievements, and the fine quality of the teaching here. It takes much effort and commitment, consciousness and care to ‘grow‘ an intercultural school in Guatemala. Escuela Caracol is a rare and unique ‘flower’ indeed! In my weeks at the school, I perceived much love and intention in the carrying of the school. I know that the children at Escuela Caracol can blossom here like flowers. One day, the winds of life will carry them to bring seeds of vision, healing and hope to the... read more

Cafe Caracol 2015: A Meeting Place For Our Educational Community

Café Caracol is a space fot meeting in which our educational community, in a relaxed atmosphere, meet to delve into some of the most important issues taking place in Escuela Caracol. While last year it helped us to continue our process of systematization of experiences (and the production of our documentary), this year we wanted Cafe Caracol to help us deepen some of the educational principles of Waldorf education, making them accessible to all families in a simple and entertaining way. Available in this edition of Cafe Caracol, and directed by our teachers, subjects were: The first and second 7-year periods The value of play The holistic teaching of mathematics Teacher training We also had the honor of receiving a class of Euritmia by Wendalyn Von Meyenfeldt, teacher of preschool and fantastic Waldorf eurythmist, who took advantage of this event to share this wonderful discipline with the families. Coffee, of course, was... read more

Garbage Collection Day in San Marcos La Laguna

These is a very special time in Waldorf schools worldwide. As part of our tradition we celebrate Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael. This celebration honors the light within every human being and praises the courage and bravery that emerges from inside us in moments of greatest darkness. To mark this celebration, our primary grades’ students organized a day of garbage collection. With the support of the Municipality of San Marcos La Laguna, children from first to sixth grade cleaned the streets of the town and the lake shore as part of a community service in which these foregoing values were made to present all. Also, children in kindergarten have irradiated their inner light visiting in their homes to aged and elderly of our community, bringing laughter, sweetness and freshly baked bread at school. Happy St. Michael to... read more

Guatemalan National Day Celebration

Like every year, Escuela Caracol participated in the parade of September 15th, Guatemala’s National Day. During the parade, our students carried handmade messages and signs of respect and care for our beautiful Lake Atitlan. The event ended on the sports field where each school participated with various performances. We sang songs, recited poems and played flutes and guitars in front of the San Marcos community. It was... read more

Summer Teacher Training in Cuernavaca, Mexico

As every summer, our teachers attended for 3 weeks to the Waldorf Teacher Training in the Anthroposophical Development Center in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. This enriching experience, in addition to go deep into the pedagogical principles that we apply daily in our work, serves also to share experiences with teachers coming from very different places and countries. This training is received with enthusiasm and reverence, as it helps our educational community and all of San Marcos La Laguna continue raising awareness of intercultural education for freedom. The activities cover areas as diverse as methodology courses, anthroposophy, handicraft workshops, working with mud, music or Waldorf dolls. Also, illustrious people share their  pedagogical experience in the form of lectures and conferences. This year we delved into such exciting topics as “The 7 virtues of the Teacher” or “Life, death and reincarnation.” After three weeks of intense work, we return to the daily rhythm in Escuela Caracol, where we can share with our community our coexistence in Cuernavaca. In the last three months of the school year there is still plenty of time to join our groups and to offer everything  we learned socially, culturally and... read more

Our 2015 Annual Appeal has begun and we need your support!

In one of the poorest regions in Guatemala, where 80% live in poverty and only 1 in 10 completes lower secondary school, Escuela Caracol is changing everything. This Intercultural Waldorf School is creating a brighter tomorrow for our entire educational community: what 8 years ago started with a group of 12 children is now a solid model of educational renewal withmore than 80 children, over 85% of them indigenous Maya receiving sponsorship that includes fees, class ma­terials and two nutritious meals a day. Our Goal is $30,000 Help Escuela Caracol raise $30,000 by November 25thto continue providing educational opportunities to this beautiful community on the shores of Lake Atitlan, the heart of the Mayan world. The education of these indigenous Maya children is only possible thanks to our international community of support. Click here to DONATE NOW Your contribution might feel like a drop in the bucket, but every drop counts. Every tax-deductible gift... read more

Memories from the XII Latin American Congress of Waldorf Education

This year Escuela Caracol had the opportunity to be represented at the XII Latin American Congress of Waldorf Education, which was held in the city of Cali, Colombia, from 12 to 18 July. The congress is held every three years in different countries and schools in South America. Andrea, Maribel and Enrique shared their experiences in San Marcos La Laguna along with other 470 participants from all Iberoamerica. Being the only representatives of Central America, it was an extraordinary and outstanding participation. We arrived at the school Luis Horacio Gomez on Sunday 12 July with excitement and expectations of what this meeting would be. With much surprise and joy we saw the facilities in this school that has existed for over 30 years. Every corner and every wall contains artistic details that show the love they put into this education. There was a beautiful opening concert and welcome by the choir and orchestra made up of primary and secondary students at this school. At the end we attended the first conference on Inner Parth of the Teacher, taught by Florian Osswald, president of the educational section of the Goetheanum (anthroposophy headquarters in Dornach, Switzerland). The work schedule for this week was intense but very rewarding, with activities from 7am until 9pm. During this time we attended artistic-educational presentations on the Tenth Conference of the Study of Man (Rudolf Steiner), by Colombia, Brazil and Argentina; We worked in small groups to deepen about the conference and presentation; had artistic activities and free enterprise initiatives as deepening in the teaching of mathematics in primary (Andrea), meeting of delegates from all institutions... read more

Emerson Waldorf School students visit Escuela Caracol

Last week we had the honor of welcoming again a group of high school students from the Emerson Waldorf School, located in North Carolina. A group of 12 students came accompanied by three group leaders and volunteered all week, sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with the whole community of Escuela Caracol. In addition to teaching daily workshops on arts and movement, the students from Emerson donated once again many useful materials so that our students can continue with the dynamic practices that began during this visit. To the delight of all at Escuela Caracol the Emerson students also built a wall in the grades 5 and 6 classroom, painted a kindergarten classroom and improved the kindergarten playground. The children were so surprised and happy when they saw that they had swings and trunks where they can play balancing games!  On their last day they offered a small show for our parents and extended educational community to share the results of their visit. Kim, the teacher who accompanied this great group, explained in perfect Spanish all the advantages that these activities offer the children and the reasons why these activities are part of the Waldorf pedagogy. Valuable lessons such as overcoming fear through facing it, how knowledge and coordination are acquired through games, and most importantly that we all carry within us everything we need to successfully develop our gifts and natural abilities. After the show celebrated our monthly market in the palapa. In addition to a large participation of families and visitors, our friends Balam Ajpu, who just released his album dedicated to the 20 nawales. Dr. Nativo and MChe Free played their songs and rejoiced to all... read more

School Play: “Rabbits, a Happy Family”

This story is especially emotional for us. The play “Rabbits, a happy family”, performed by a group of students from third and fourth grade, is the culmination of what has been a wonderful year next to Camila. Camila arrived a year ago to Escuela Caracol school to volunteer. During this time she has worked with children and teachers in the classrooms, has participated in the monthly markets and has been a fundamental part of our team.  She created this wonderful play, the first to be played outdoors in ou school. Camila and their actors and actresses have worked for months, preparing the play with love and enthusiasm. Two afternoons a week, after school classes, they gathered at the palapa to shape this beauty. This post is also a tribute to her, as she says goodbye to us. Camila, it has been a blessing to have you with us. Your work here has deeply touched the souls of many families, and our educational community will be forever grateful. Good luck in your way, dear... read more

Professor Dr. Christoph Jaffke visit Escuela Caracol

This week we had the honor of receiving Professor Dr. Christoph Jaffke, which has seen our classes, accompanied and guided our teachers and conducted two workshops: Teaching English to Children 6 to 11 years: A Holistic and Innovative Approach Dr. Jaffke has been a Waldorf teacher since 1967 and trained teachers since 1975. The city of Stuttgart, Germany, is a very important venue for this pedagogy. The first Waldorf school was born there almost 100 years ago. In Stuttgart Dr. Jaffke began a series of publications for English teachers while working on a training program for Waldorf teachers. Then he co-founded a Waldorf school in the same city. Dr. Jaffke has worked as a mentor of English teachers in several countries, including Germany, Malaysia, Japan, China, India and Colombia. In his thesis (University of Hiroshima, Japan) he published an innovative and holistic approach to teaching English to children of primary age (6-11). We are greatly honored by the presence of Dr. Jaffke, whose teachings have profoundly marked us and allow us to continue growing as an educational model at the service of Guatemalan children. We hope he can come back and visit us... read more

Joseph the Dreamer

This week, students of third and fourth grade played Joseph the Dreamer, a class play based on the stories of the Hebrews and created especially for children of 9 and 10 years. Joseph the Dreamer tells the story of Joseph, sold as a slave by his brothers to the ignorance of the father. Joseph goes to prison in Egypt, where he starts to interpret the dreams of the prisoners. His destiny, however, is ending up being the Pharaoh’s counselor, and his ability to see through dreams led him to earn the respect and admiration of all. He finally meet again with his brothers, they show their repentance, and his father can die peacefully after seeing his disappeared son again. The story is particularly relevant to this age because it delivers values, emphasizes human errors and their consequences, and reveals the importance of destiny. The children greatly enjoyed the whole process. There were families who supported in the making of clothing and other members of the team worked for the play to look as beautiful as it looked. Many families and people from the community came to watch the play. It was a great community time! Congratulations girls and... read more

Celebrating our 8th Anniversary

8 years have passed. Eight years filled with stories, examples and hope for this educational community on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Thanks to the efforts of Joshua and Courtney Wilson, founders of Escuela Caracol, and the dedication of all the professionals, families and students who have been part of our family, today Escuela Caracol is a model of educational renewal for the Republic of Guatemala. To celebrate this special moment, we prepared an anniversary full of fun, entertainment and surprises. We started the morning by honoring our roots with a Mayan sacred fire ceremony. Ingrid Arévalo, Mayan spiritual guide and part of our educational community, led the offering. Thereafter all grades, kindergarten through sixth, presented to the audience their shows of art and movement in our palapa. Special mention for students in fifth and sixth grade, who received a standing ovation with their guitar playing. Following the presentations we had a delicious snack. All families contributed with something to share in community, and our kitchen was commissioned to organize in order to serve all attendees. And after the delicious snack, which included toasts, beans, guacamole, hummus and pastries, it was time for family games, including a rally and a volleyball game between teachers and families. Before leaving we celebrated our raffle, which this year was full of great prizes, all donated by teachers, families and local businesses. The Escuela Caracol birthday is a very special moment, and every year we strive to celebrate it with great respect and dedication. This year the turnout was overwhelming, with many families comming to celebrate this special moment. How happy and thankful... read more

Purified, filtered water!

How happy we are! With the support of our friends of Alente, an Aveda spa located in Ellensburg, WA, we could install a water filtration system in our kitchen. Each year, Aveda supports a project that promotes access to clean water, and Alente joins supporting another project. This year they chose us, and as soon as we receive their donation we began installing the water purification system (sediment filters, activated carbon, UV rays and chlorinator). San Marcos La Laguna tap water is highly contaminated, and is causing a lot of health problems, especially during the rainy season, when the streams coming down from the mountain remove and dirty the water sources. Although we have high quality health and hygiene standards, always ensuring the health of children, having a water filtration system is vital for greater hygiene and food safety in our kitchen, the heart of the Escuela Caracol. We want to deeply thank our friends from Alente and their community for their support and solidarity. Thank you very much! You have made us very happy!... read more

Repairing the road: what a united community can accomplish when they stay together

Recently, our school community pulled together to repair the road leading to Escuela Caracol. After more than three years waiting for support from the municipality, we decided to put a solution to this problem. Walking this path every morning can be truly uncomfortable and even dangerous, especially during the rainy season. Teacher Ervin was in charge of organizing all the families and communicating with them. Thus, while some were physically working on the road -cleaning brush, moving earth and stones, etc- others were working in the kitchen to serve water, fruit and atol (cornflour drink). The work lasted two days, Saturday and Sunday, and even some children came to support and enjoy the work. Surely, a great example of what a united community can accomplish when they stay together. Waldorf education at its... read more

Workshops at Escuela Caracol

Since late 2014, Escuela Caracol has imparted workshops for families in our school community and residents of our village. Teachers, parents, members of the community and visitors have led workshops on a varied array of topics and skills. Towards the end of last year, we welcomed two visitors to our school. Genaro Vázquez led a workshop on Intercultural Education, while Ferdinand Vondruska offered an Introduction to Biodynamic Farming. We also conducted a systematization of experiences process which culminated (for now) in the production of our documentary. This year, we continue to promote activities that bring our community together. Our first workshop, led by a mother of our educational community, taught us how to make homemade Yoghurt. Recently, our handwork teacher Nacho imparted a workshop on making crochet needles from the wood of coffee trees. The families have shown their openness and willingness to learn. We are working to promote the growth of our community, assessing the most valuable and desired training options as we go along. We are confident that participation will increase exponentially, and more and more families will join us in this initiative. Together, we are creating the educational community we all want, one step at a time.... read more

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