Jun 22, 2021

Every Ending Has a New Beginning

Recent photo of the Ananda community
Recent photo of the Ananda community

The school year is coming to an end. It was an unexpected and overall different school year. None of us thought we would be living a world pandemic. None of us was prepared for all the changes that such event was going to bring. Our lives changed and so did our way to do education. This school year had to have some adaptations and variations. Children were working from home at first, later we moved to online classes and when it was finally possible, they attended face-to-face lessons in our beloved school.

Appreciation is a key factor these days, that is why we decided not to focus on the unfulfilled lists of to-dos but to acknowledge the achievements we had during this year. Since September 2020, our students were able to attend school. At first, the children were divided into small groups and by May this year, the school was able to welcome all students following a safety Covid protocol.

Since then, we started catching up on school content, working with new materials, spending time in the forest, and enjoying each other's company. To close this year, we are planning a small graduation ceremony for those who are starting elementary school and the same for those who are finishing 6th grade. There will be a Waldorf ritual that we normally do called “the bridge of knowledge”. Besides, there will be a few dance performances and a small gathering with the families of our community.

Another great achievement this year was the connection and support we have received from AMI Mexico. A big thanks for helping us make this dream come true. Thank you for supporting us with the best Montessori training for our teachers and for guiding us in the right direction to become better and better every time.

We also want to extend our most profound gratitude to our teachers who are concluding the year and will be heading towards new adventures. Thank you for all your efforts, your knowledge, your love, and the seeds you planted during your stay. You will always have a place in our hearts!

My heart is filled with nothing more than gratitude. Personally, I would like to thank all the Ananda community for these 2 years of being part of this beautiful project. For everything I learned, not only in terms of education but also in my personal life. Ananda opened a new world for me, it allowed me to live in the forest, to live in a mud house, to grow a big part of my food. To connect with this beautiful community of San Sebastián Rio Hondo, to learn from them, of their lifestyle and their sacred connection with nature. Thank you Carolina, Kalindi, local teachers, and everyone who has contributed to the creation of this project.

Last but not least, a big thanks to our donors for making this possible. We look forward to your continued support. If you would like to support to enable more and more students please consider starting a monthly recurring donation for an amount that suits you.

Kind regards,

Days of activities in the forest
Days of activities in the forest
Zoom interview for AMI Mexico
Zoom interview for AMI Mexico
Baking banana bread
Baking banana bread
Feb 23, 2021

Redefining Education

Children writing limericks
Children writing limericks

We would like to start by extending our gratitude and appreciation to all the teachers out there. Thank you for making Education possible in the middle of a pandemic. Thank you for not giving up and for finding ways of accompanying students. Thank you for your creativity and adaptability during this difficult time. This post is dedicated to all of you. 

Dear readers, as you all know, 2020 was a challenging year, changes were made and adaptability and flexibility became our best friends. 2021 has started, and we are still learning to navigate the waves of uncertainty. 

Since 2021 began, we have been carefully observing what is happening regarding Covid around us, and analyzing whether it is safe to go back to school or to wait a bit longer. Due to the rising of cases nearby after the holidays, always placing health as a priority, it was decided to begin the year with online classes. 

In order to do so, we got in touch with the families and made sure that our students had internet access and a device for connecting from home. The ones who did not were offered a computer to take home and some were given the option to come to the school to pick up materials.

Our year started by becoming familiar with the ZOOM platform; teachers, students and even parents, all together exploring a new online world. It was a real challenge at first; online education has its pros and cons. We acknowledge that it will not replace face to face interaction but at least it helps us give continuity to the children and the program. Another benefit is that the children get to see and interact with their teachers and classmates, which makes them feel safe. 

Another alternative to complement online classes has been sending materials and workbooks home with the purpose of reinforcing what was seen during class. 

Another highlight is that our kindergarten teachers started to record videos for children to learn how to use certain materials at home, which has made the learning process easier for such a young age group. 

We are not sure what is on the horizon for the future. We are hoping 2021 will be the year where we can all go back to school and slowly return to our routines. In the meantime, Ananda’s team is trying their best to keep children intellectually stimulated. Teachers continue exploring options to reach the kids and continue to sustain them educationally and emotionally throughout this period. Big thanks to the parents as well, who dedicate a part of their day to connect the children and to make sure that they are following the lesson.

Now more than ever we need your financial help to continue making this project possible. Since the children are not attending school, most parents have fallen behind with the monthly contribution and the school expenses continue to be almost the same. We thank you all for your continuing support and for making this project possible. 

Best Regards

Videos made by our preeschool teachers
Videos made by our preeschool teachers
Children during online class
Children during online class
Children during online class
Children during online class
Oct 26, 2020

The Gift of Education

Welcome sign at the opening of the school year
Welcome sign at the opening of the school year

In these moments of uncertainty worldwide, in schools and informal educational spaces that remain closed, we want to extend our admiration and recognition to parents who have been doing an enormous job educating their children at home. Thank you for the great effort you make every day, for learning new things together with your children, for maneuvering your time between so many activities, thank you for acknowledging that education begins at home.

This school year has been different; we are learning the art of resilience, adapting to change, finding a way to go back to our routines while walking on unknown land. Fortunately, here in the mountains of Southern Oaxaca, we have the great privilege of living a somewhat “normal life.” Thanks to the fact that no cases of Covid have been reported in the area, we were able to go back to our face to face classes.

After having worked from home and tutoring our children for half a year, we came to the decision to begin with face-to-face classes with great caution and taking preventive measures against Covid19. In September of this year Ananda Learning Center reopened its doors. From that moment until today, we have been working in new ways; bigger groups were divided, with a maximum of 8 children per classroom, alternating class days.

To start a new cycle, it was essential to bring closure to the previous school year. A small ceremony was held for the children who graduated from preschool to elementary school.

The Bridge of Knowledge ceremony is a transitional Waldorf ritual that allows children to experience the beginning of school life and the closing of their golden childhood. As children go through The Bridge of Knowledge their relatives shower them in flower petals, calling out their virtues. It was a very special moment for children, parents and teachers; seeing the courage of each child as they crossed into a new stage was a remarkable moment. 

One of our preventative measures has been working in open spaces. Now that we have the outdoor craft studio, it is being used very often to work outside the classrooms. The work in the kitchen, garden and forest has also been reinforced.

Thank you for continuing to support us during these uncertain times. Your support is now more needed than ever so that this project can continue to give this precious gift that is Education.

Learning the importance of plant care
Learning the importance of plant care
Students passing through the bridge of knowledge
Students passing through the bridge of knowledge
The forest, one of the favorite work spaces
The forest, one of the favorite work spaces
Working with wood
Working with wood
Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!

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