This is Hanney's home garden project! Hanney is in fifth grade. She is an incredibly bright scholarship student who loves folkloric dance and English class. Her family has very limited space to make their home garden but they have found new and recycled materials to plant their vegetables in and I can imagine the excitement on Hanney's face when she first tastes her home grown cucumbers! Cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes grow really easily here and our students are learning to save their seeds from the vegetables they consume.
The home garden is one of the new activites we have included into our Environmental Education Program. We've had to change our plans completely, and they continue to change as the year goes on. This hands-on learning project opens up exciting discussion about organic vs. not organic, the importance of being sustainable or buying local, and the natural science of plant growth. What I especially love about this project is that each family as made the home garden work, no matter what the size of their yard!
The other new activity will be a series of livestream story-time with environment-themed books. I will be reading our first story, "La Pelota Azul" on September 22 at 11:30 AM (Ecuador time) to celebrate World Car Free Day. The students will then be encouraged to participate in a drawing contest expressing what they learned from the story and the winner will receive a prize donated by a local family in Quito. Please join us on our Facebook Page (link below) to hear the story and see fun comments from our families!
When the pandemic hit during our summer vacation we knew that this was going to be a particularly difficult year in so many ways. At first we weren't sure if the school would be able to continue at all. About half of the school's income comes from tuition and the other half is fundraising by the James Dean Byrd Foundation. With the sever lockdown here, most of our families were no longer able to work and didn't have savings to count on. Many told us that they would have no choice but to withdraw their children because they knew they wouldn't be able pay their part.
With the first hurtle, the matriculation fee, we received over 30 donated matriculation fees! This guarenteed that we could open our doors, and stay open when other private schools in our area have closed!
Then, between GlobalGiving and local Ecuadorian sponsors in Quito, we now have 36 students with full or half scholarships that are able to continue studying with Los Algarrobos and enure that the school stays open for the rest of the school year and into the future! The families that have received help are those that would not have been able to continue, we are so grateful that they are still with us!
Social Studies Timeline
Model microscope with recycled materials
May 22, 2020
Adjusting to a New Normal
By Rachel Isser - Project Leader
Students Connect Online
Ecuador has been on strict lockdown since March 16, meaning that for two months now all of our students, parents, teachers, and administrators have been working from home. After a hustle to rearrange our lives, we are pumped and ready to start our new school year on June 1st. Our students are already communicating with teachers using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp. And we are lucky to say that we have found scholarships for over 25 students! We are so grateful to have such strong support!
Obviously, all of this means that our Environmental Education Program will change a lot. In addition to their normal school work, students will have one lesson a week online in environemntal studies. To guide us through an online curriculum, we will use TedEd Earth School. Here, we find many short and interesting videos that our students can reflect upon. Although many of our planned projects and excursions would have been more fun with their classmates, students can still plant seeds at home, separate their garbage, or make compost. Things likely won't go back to how they were, so even our Environmental Education Program will adjust to the new normal.
Coming up soon will be our Virtual Bingo Game! Buy your bingo cards now! On June 6th at 1:00 PM Ecuador time we will live stream the game on the school's Facebook page. All the proceeds will go towards paying our teachers and keeping the school open through this crisis. Bingo cards are $5 for 1 or 3 for $10. You can buy your cards here on GlobalGiving or through the PayPal account on our website.