The “Biblioteca” project in Perlita (Loreto, Peru) aims to improve the community’s 17 primary school students’ (grades 4, 5, and 6) educational performance by offering reinforcement workshops in the afternoon. The workshops take advantage of working outside of regular school hours by complimenting the more formal education they receive in the classroom with a fun, creative, and flexible model reinforcing the state’s academic content while at the same time challenging students to think critically, creatively, and learn positive personal, social, and environmental values. By linking these themes with dynamic activities based on the students’ interests and indigenous culture, the students can develop the analytical skills necessary to grow academically while playing and pursuing their own interests and creativity.
By allowing students to engage in a fun activity and challenging them to make the link between the activity and a range of school course materials, students must: approach art and play from a critical and analytic point of view; practice their course content in a fun context; reflect on their learning process and outcomes in order to present and evaluate them; create creative connections between daily life and academic lessons.
Not only do the students practice the course content from their classrooms, but they also must develop their critical thinking, analytic, and creative skills. By not only receiving information but, more importantly, questioning, evaluating, and reflecting on it, the normally rote academic lessons become an intimate part of their daily lives through which meaningful learning can occur.