Children learn to learn… as well as their parents
We soon found out that many parents do not consider our voluntary offers for leisure time as a basis for their development in the pedagogical field. This means that their interaction with the children is very much left to chance.
However, kindergarten and school attendance are obligatory in Peru and actually, it is important to many parents that their children attend a good school. Education is the key to success and the only legal way to break out of the poverty spiral.
Compulsory education is 3 years of kindergarten, 6 years of primary school and 5 years of secondary school in Peru. For this, there are two options:
o State schools: Favorable, as they do not charge monthly school fees and only the uniform and school materials have to be paid. The quality, however, is poor. Furthermore, they do not have enough capacity for all the children.
o Private schools: They offer better or even excellent education, but are very expensive, between 80 – 500 USD per month plus extra costs like enrollment, school material, uniforms, excursions, events, etc. The minimum wage in Peru is currently 300 USD or 930 soles.
Peruvian families from a slum can barely afford private schools and most children receive a poor level of education. Many of them do not even finish their compulsory education. On top of that, children with behavioral problems or learning disabilities go to state schools. They either passively sit out the time in class or, rarely or never go to school out of frustration. The school classes are too large and the lessons are limited to 4-5 hours of frontal teaching every day, even for the 3-year-olds. This situation became even more precarious due to the many refugees from Venezuela.
At the beginning of 2018, we started to cooperate with the private “Mahanaim” school. Within the framework of a sponsorship concept, we offer financially weak families the chance for their children to attend this school. We participate in the program of this school with therapy (Montessori concept) in a separate room. In order that the children do not experience the educational area like an island – and at home everything remains the same – we involve the parents or the whole family in the concept. We only pay the financial contribution for the children when the parents participate in parent education events and in discussions based on educational coaching. They commit themselves to this with their signature.
A great concern of ours is the joy of learning. We consider the Montessori approach to be extremely valuable. In 2018, two teachers in our team completed an additional training course on “Teaching school material with Montessori methods”.
Unfortunately, cooperation on a long-term basis is not possible with this school. Therefore, we bought a 2’000 square meter property at the end of 2019. Our plan is to build a kindergarten first and then a school eventually.