In 2010, the Puerta Abierta opened the first creative, nonconventional school in Santiago Atitlan. Our staff has designed an innovative curriculum that embraces art, discovery and exploration. We host preschool through 6th grade at our center.
The traveling library is the community outreach project of the Puerta Abierta. Participating local schools receive a visit from an enthusiastic librarian from our center on a weekly basis. While children benefit from exposure to reading and interactive activities, classroom teachers learn how to incorporate literacy into their class curriculum.
The reading circle program offers a safe place for preteens and teenagers to come together and discuss a book that they are reading as a group. With time and guidance, our teens develop skills to think critically about the literature they are reading and to relate books to their own lives.
The Mothers’ Artisan Group provides a dignified form of income for the mothers of our students while enhancing their personal creativity and promoting a sustainable income generation for la Puerta Abierta. Our mothers design handmade products, most with a focus on childhood whimsy such as finger puppets, holiday ornaments and cuddly toys. All profits collected from the sold artisan products return to the scholarship fund at la Puerta Abierta.
The garden club provides our students and the community at large with an opportunity to participate in the magic of organic plant growth. Both children and adults alike marvel over the process of a seed transforming into a plant when they have the occasion to slow down, dirty their hands and be close to nature. In addition to offering our students and families an authentic experience to grow and taste their own food, the club also engages students in a variety of academic subjects from animal habitat to medicinal plants to real-world math concepts like measurement to literary concepts like writing garden inspired Haiku poems. Equally as important, our garden presents students with an outdoor space where they can engage in unstructured play with contact to their natural world.
La Puerta Abierta offers a variety of workshops to educational institutions throughout the country on themes such as the importance of play in early childhood education, creative story telling strategies and best practices for reading fluency and comprehension.