The brightly decorated classrooms are divided into arts and reading areas. Teachers sit with students in small groups, helping them sound out words and read books on their own — some of them, for the very first time. The students work through their classwork, with access to help, in a positive, productive atmosphere.
Does it sound like a dream? Not for students at Casa de Esperanza’ s school.
Families all around the world make sacrifices for their children’s education: moving into a better school district, paying for private school, tutors, college tuition and more, all as an investment into the brightness of their children’s future. At Horizon, we have those same dreams for our kids. We believe they deserve the highest-quality education possible, in order to open doors, empowering them to support themselves and a family.
The pandemic posed many challenges to education that even well-equipped schools had to maneuver: virtual learning, connecting students and teachers and getting one-on-one help are just a few. Casa de Esperanza’s school faced all these, with a few added hurdles. Many students arriving to the Guatemalan community had already missed one or more years of formal schooling, which meant they had more coursework to complete to be “caught up” with others their age.
Teachers in the school knew they needed some reinforcements to maintain a high-quality education in the face of these new challenges, so the Latin American regional team recently conducted a search for teaching staff with passion and a vision for excellence. They hired three new teachers, including the school principal, to transform the quality of teaching. The change has paid dividends, as the micro community director has reported.
“The kids are engaged, and eager to go and learn with their new teachers. I have been very impressed with the way they have transformed the instruction.”
The primary grades teacher, Jenyfher, commented on the scope of the initial challenge. “We did a series of placement tests to start the year and were a bit overwhelmed by the gaps in their knowledge. I didn’t know that many in my class, for example, could not read.” They got to work immediately to strengthen the kids’ skills. They worked on letter sounds and explored their classroom library. Jenyfher shares that “Now Rosa,* for example is reading books independently. The kids love to go to the reading corner, so much that sometimes they don’t want to go home.”
Likewise, Ana Maria, the junior high teacher, shared a bit more on the approach they take as a team.
“We have tried a number of new techniques with them. We try to learn while playing; we have written the times tables on the floor of the classroom and play games of memory. The kids have shown so much growth in areas like reading comprehension and analysis of the main themes from their textbooks.”
Horizon exists to empower orphaned children, and a quality education is a key element of that mission. Thanks to this new team of dedicated professionals, the children in Guatemala are on the right path to achieving their goals.