Region and population
The Caracol school is situated in the lagoon San Marcos, close to the Lake of Atitlán, nearby three vulcanos. This little community of about 3000 inhabitants is situated in the western highlands of Guatemala. A region, inhabited during thousands of years by Maya Indians. It is the poorest region of Guatemala, 80% of the inhabitants lives in poverty, 20% lives in extreme poverty.
The landscape is of breathtaking beauty and there is enough land. This is one of the reasons that more foreigners and non-indigenous Guatemalan have settled around the Lake of Atitlán, in the last 20 years. Many of these newcomers have children now and are confronted with the quality of the education. They show more and more solidarity with the original indigenous population and recognize their need for more quality in education.
Not simple to realize in a country that is still recovering from a civil war, that has last for 36 years. A war, in which hundreds of schools were burned and many teachers just ‘disappeared’.
Solo for All supports the art and music lessons on this school.
Public schools and the Caracol school
Although the attention for education grows, the public schools are far away still from fulfilling the need for education, not to mention the need for quality education. Overcrowded classrooms, shortness of teachers, a school climate characterized by suppression, violence and chronic mismanagement, are no exception.
Although the statistics prove that there is progress the last decade, UNICEF concluded that 62% of the children still get no more than 6 years of primary education.
What is needed, is in fact not only more education and more educational institutes, but also a different type of education to make it possible that the children, as well as the region will develop in a positive direction.
The Caracol school is part of the Waldorf Foundation, an American NGO. The teaching and learning methods of the Waldorf schools are based on the ideas of the anthroposophist Rudolph Steiner.
The Waldorf school in Guatemala offers a solution for both groups, the indigenous and the non-indigenous population around the Lake of Atitlán. The holistic learning methods stimulate a broad development – physical, emotional and cognitive – of the individual students. Development of responsibility, intellectual curiosity, independent and creative thinking, and emotional intelligence are important parts of this learning method.
With this as solid fundament, the students are capable of developing further after finishing school and they are also capable of giving a positive contribution to the development of the total community.