Still a distinguishing feature of the school today, the ‘colegio’ is known for its inclusiveness, accepting students regardless of race – a significant issue in Guatemala’s history – and economic status. School tuition is 5 Quetzales for each child each month, amounting to roughly $6-7 each year; in other words accessible education and increases in opportunities.
The parish just opened a Montessori school for 4 year olds, to introduce children to the school atmosphere and encourage learning and curiosity through the Montessori method developed in Rome.
Within both school areas are central courtyard areas with benches and flowering gardens. Students often play or snack in these areas during their morning break, but also use them as a quiet place during classes to read or work on group projects.
The number of girls attending school continues to grow, reflecting the change in national literacy rate. Despite these changes, boys are still more likely to attend school than their female counterparts, demonstrating the pervasive belief that the women’s realm of influence is within the home.
The ‘colegio’ serves over 600 students in first grade through sixth, with class sizes averaging around 25 students. Within the school there are two libraries, a small computer lab with a computer for each grade, a common courtyard area, and administrative offices.
The ‘colegio’ holds primary classes from 8 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon, after which the space is used for upper level classes known as ‘basico’ in the afternoon and evening.
There is a teacher for each grade section, responsible for teaching courses such as Sciences, Mathematics, Technology, Morals, Communications, Spanish grammar, and History. There are also several specialized teachers that rotate into classrooms to teach specific courses like physical education, music, and Kachiquel.
Above is the school recreation area pictured a few years ago. Thanks to several donations of materials and funds, this sandy area is now a cement basketball court and a state-of-the-art synthetic turf soccer field available for physical education courses.