Bilingual Early Literacy Program: Growing Three Years Strong
We may not give much appreciation for our ability to decipher a series of curves and lines, to string them together into sentences and paragraphs that can open up our world to language, art, knowledge, connection, and so forth. But in the isolated northwestern region of Guatemala, parents eagerly send their young children to the Adopt-a-Village Bilingual Early Literacy program to learn a life-altering skill they were not afforded. All for their children’s better, more fulfilling future; the sole goal of every parent.
Our Bilingual Early Literacy program brings together passionate, full-time credentialed teachers in four villages that surround our Maya Jaguar school to educate preschoolers in literacy and set them on an easier path for further schooling. Children are taught their letters, numbers, and introductory Spanish words. Spanish is especially critical as it is Guatemala's national language and is the only one spoken in schools. The preschoolers’ creativity is nurtured with lessons that involve not only writing, drawing, coloring, but also joyous singing, dancing, and entertaining puppet skits.
The teachers themselves work hard to ensure the children are learning at an appropriate pace with strong engagement and enthusiasm. Furthermore, many of them take the time and effort to travel among the four villages to teach the classes. All of the teachers instruct in both Spanish and a native Mayan dialect (Mam, Chuj, and Q'anjob'al) for greater communication and confirmation that the children correctly understand their lessons.
To be part of a brighter future means literacy is nonnegotiable as the United Nations reports that “not fulfilling the right to literacy undermines progress in economic and social development, environmental sustainability, and enduring peace and stability.”
Without the ability to read and write, the boys will resign to back breaking work on farms and the girls will most likely have early marriages and children; thus the cycle of poverty continues. With literacy entering these children’s lives through our program, the possibilities open to them have exponentially multiplied so that they too may find more fulfilling paths in life like students who participate in Adopt-a-Village’s Maya Jaguar middle and high school.
Since the program’s debut in 2021, its popularity has risen, and Bilingual Early Literacy now boasts about 50 preschoolers across the four villages. An incredible 50 lives changed with literacy through our mission of opportunities for education for the indigenous Maya people. Your time, talents and donations are essential to enact change in these Maya children’s lives.