Our Bilingual Early Literacy Program Graduates 45!
From January to October, our Bilingual Early Literacy classrooms in remote rural villages are alive with curious young minds and brilliant educators. There are hands raised with eagerness to answer engaging questions and playful laughter as the Maya children learn Spanish through songs and skits. Almost fifty preschoolers are benefiting from our Bilingual Early Literacy Program in the four villages of Monte Bello, Buena Vista, Nuevo San Ildefonso, and La Lucha Villa Laura. Our teachers report these young students are overcoming language obstacles in their efforts to learn to read and write. Such trials and triumphs deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated.
With that goal in mind, Adopt-a-Village held graduation ceremonies at the end of the school year in each of the four villages to celebrate these young students’ achievements. Parents’ eyes gleamed with pride as they watched their little ones receive diplomas certified by the Guatemala Ministry of Education. Thanks to our Bilingual Early Literacy Program, their children will struggle less in primary school, where only Spanish is spoken. Additionally, the students who demonstrated the greatest growth each received a medal to commend their efforts and encourage them to keep reaching for the stars through their school years.
These ceremonies are also a time for Adopt-a-Village to reflect and to evaluate whether the goals of our educational programs are being met. The Bilingual Early Literacy Program was created to teach Maya preschoolers their letters, numbers, and introductory Spanish. In doing so, our little preschoolers will have an easier transition to primary school, setting them on a path of life-long learning. This year, Adopt-a-Village has met this goal in all four villages!! Teachers announced that their students learned the entire Spanish alphabet and are able to write and read their names. All of the preschoolers can count from at least one to twenty, with many capable of counting higher. One of our most dedicated preschoolers exceeded expectations and counts from one to one thousand without help!
Holding to our mission, successes are not just measured by whether the students know the alphabet or that 2 + 2 = 4; we strive to create self-confidence and fill the children’s lives with the endless curiosities and opportunities that education provides. We all strive to instill in the Maya children a sense of wonder and appreciation for education. These qualities are shining in the classrooms, but we have also learned that the children carry these qualities back to their families — parent after parent has shared with our staff about the positive changes they see in their children.
Adopt-a-Village’s support does not end with our Bilingual Early Literacy Program. Our teachers also hold remedial classes for primary school students––from kindergarten through sixth grade––that guide students through more difficult schoolwork. With these classes, fewer students are falling behind, and many have become more confident in their course work and assignments. These classes appear to be meeting a need, as almost 130 students among the four villages are attending. The effectiveness of our tutoring has been praised by the government teachers in the area. The teachers recognize that these remedial classes benefit both the students and the teachers (making their duties much easier) and therefore, have urged Adopt-a-Village to continue these valuable programs. In fact, some students have excelled in such a noticeable manner that three have been invited to study at Maya Jaguar Private Technical Institute this next year.
The generosity of our donors and volunteers has truly made a difference for our students in 2023. Adopt-a-Village hopes to carry on such programs and mirror our successes in 2024, with your help.
$50 supplies culturally appropriate books for the children
$150 pays the salary for a bilingual Early Literacy teacher for a month
$500 buys materials, books, puzzles, and educational games for a village
$1050 educates one Maya preschooler in one village for the school year