The Alma Foundation is working in collaboration with the local education authority (UGEL) and the Provincial Municipality of Urubamba to bring innovative teaching methods for reading and writing to eleven primary institutions in communities of the province of Urubamba, Cusco, Peru.
This project has been designed and is headed by the experienced and respected teacher Ronald Castillo, author of several children’s books and other works. He piloted the idea in his school in Rumira in 2011. In 2012, thanks to a replacement teacher sent by the municipality to free up Ronald’s time and support from the Alma Foundation, we are rolling this successful method out to 350 students and 35 teachers at other schools through workshops with teachers and team teaching in the classroom.
The children will read books together with their teacher and the trainer, Professor Ronald, and learn to enjoy and really understand the literature. They will then work alone and in groups and consulting with their parents and other community members to create texts in the language of the students’ choice (Spanish or Quechua) and accompanying artwork. These pieces will include interpretations of local tales and legends and also stories of the students’ own creation. At the end of the year the work will be selected and published in a book for each student to share with their family.By working together with the teachers of each class the project will improve the teachers’ ability to teach reading and writing effectively, as a form of in-service hands-on training. Without this assistance, teachers often use antiquated methods of teaching or leave children to read alone without help. As a result levels of reading comprehension amd practice are very low and very few people in rural communities read or write for pleasure, although the art of story-telling is highly refined by members of the older generations.
This project values and ties together this traditional knowledge with skills that are important for chdilren to learn in order to maintain their identity and support themselves in today’s Peru.
November 2012 Update
The workshops and classes are almost completed and the childrens’ stories are being compiled into a book.