Lets Be Ready

by Lets Be Ready
All smiles on Mother
All smiles on Mother's Day!

It’s incredible that we’re somehow already in the fifth month of the year! Here in Guatemala, May is known as the Month of Mothers and as such a lot of importance is placed on the celebration of Mother’s Day in schools everywhere. This year we celebrated this special day in all of our classrooms on May 10th, where each teacher had students participate in different arts and crafts and other fun activities such as dances, skits and other games.

The objective of this day is to make sure that all the mothers have fun, and feel happy and proud of their children. While the kids had a great time amidst all the fun and games, they also were hard at work developing their abilities. During the arts and crafts portion of the day the children were honing his/her fine motor skills and putting their creativity abilities to work. During their dance presentation, the children showed off their balance, coordination and an ability to follow instructions and in the group skits they demonstrated an ability to get into their respective roles and act out different kinds of stories. All together it was an incredible day throughout the program!

We also were lucky enough to have a special visitor and good friend to the program drop in this month. Barbara Conboy is a university professor and speech therapist at the University of Redlands and has been bringing students down to Guatemala to observe Let’s Be Ready classrooms and students for the past few years.

This year Barabara brought down a good sized group of students whom were able to visit Cindy and Glorias’ classrooms in the community of Santo Domingo Xenacoj. They started the day off with Cindy’s class where they got to help them read the story of El Tico Tango before helping them reflect on the story and making crafts centered on the animal characters from the book. In the afternoon they went on to visit with Gloria’s group where they were met with the same level of enthusiasm from the kids as earlier in the day. Both classes loved being able show off for their special guests!

Overall, we’re more than pleased with our students’ progress thus far and are continually blown away by just how capable and intelligent they are.

As always, thank you to everyone that helps support Let’s Be Ready. We’re trying our hardest to be the best teachers possible and work together to improve the education of rural children in Guatemala.

Costumes made by students for their skits
Costumes made by students for their skits
This group went all-out with their costumes
This group went all-out with their costumes
These boys made some cards for mama
These boys made some cards for mama
One of our guests from the University of Redlands
One of our guests from the University of Redlands
Everybody got in on the day
Everybody got in on the day's arts and crafts
Shy student at a rural community classroom
Shy student at a rural community classroom

The new school year is underway with 22 teachers participating with over 250 kids being prepared for success in primary school

The school year began with a week long training session for 22 teachers. We distributed bluetooth speakers and tablets loaded with apps that the teachers are using to augment their curriculum. All of the teachers sent out emails to their sponsors telling about thier students and plans for the year.

We were fortunate to have on site evaluation from a Global Giving representative in April. The following is feedback from the visit:

Note from the In-the-Field Traveler
Fred, Nancy, and Sara were all incredible hosts and went out of their way to help me get to know Pequenos Pero Listos. I really enjoyed visiting schools around Xenacoj with Sara, and I was so impressed by all they have done to help prepare kids for long term academic success!

Recommendation for how to better use GlobalGiving
As we discussed, Let's Be Ready has some great story content (and of course visual content) that can be used in Project Reports, and they might consider altering slightly the titles of project pages to use "active" language reinforce donor impact. I noticed that they have already made it up to Superstar status! You guys rock!

Feedback on your programs
I hope that as Let's Be Ready continues to grow they can afford to take on more staff and dedicate more time to fundraising and organizational development. I would love to see them be able to provide these kinds of programs all around Guatemala!

Quote from the In-the-Field Traveler
Let's Be Ready (Pequenos Pero Listos) is truly setting the foundation for academic success in rural Guatemala. Their programs lay the groundwork for children to continue attending school while employing and empowering local teachers.

Photos from Daillen Culver's visit to Lets Be Ready are attached

Creativity with natural materials
Creativity with natural materials
Lining up for lunch
Lining up for lunch
Having a blast working with numbers!
Having a blast working with numbers!

Hi everybody! It’s been a busy start to the year, but it’s been a lot of fun so far. We’ve been working hard and diligently with our students trying to teach them in a way that’s understanding, fun and effective. Even though the number of days in the school year may seem daunting at the beginning of the year, time has flown by! Our kids have already learned a lot and are eager to continue to learn more.

In the different schools that we have, all of our teachers strive to come to class early and teach in a creative manner using our special curriculum. In regards to our “Star Book” series, each teacher works from our original activity guide, designed to get the most out of each and every book and spark a love for learning in our students. While these activities are outlined in a clear manner for the teacher to use, our teachers’ creativity is more than welcomed and often put to the test. If they think that they came up with a better activity than the one that put in the book, we want them to try it out and if it works we’ll add it to the program!

Aside from learning about numbers and insects with the help of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or wild animals in From Head to Toes, or colors in Harold and the Purple Crayon, many of our schools have begun teaching the vowels. Our teachers also make sure that students develop their fine motor skills by either using playdough to for different hand exercises, making works of art out of balled up tissue paper, cutting with scissors and or teaching proper technique for writing and drawing. The progress is undeniable. Our kids are drawing outside of the lines less often and are more creative every day.

We’ve also spent time teaching about our bodies and the importance of taking care of ourselves. We’ve worked on discussing water and just how important it is to all of us. During the physical education portion of class, we try to hone our children’s equilibrium and overall coordination through different games and activities. We have a lot more to teach and more ideas that we’d love to discuss with you all, but we’ll save that for next month. Thank you for your support of our program and our children; they’re the future of our country.

We’d also like to give a special thank you to Dailen from Global Giving who recently came along for a visit to two of our classrooms in the communities of Los Izotes and San Antonio in Santo Domingo Xencoj. Thank you Dailen and Global Giving for your support!

Making a puzzle out of the human body
Making a puzzle out of the human body
Some children can already recognize the vowels
Some children can already recognize the vowels
Dailen from Global Giving at the Los Izotes school
Dailen from Global Giving at the Los Izotes school
During Spring Break this year, I traveled with my wife, Lisa, and two daughters to Guatemala for a family vacation and to visit the school that our family supports for the organization Lets Be Ready. We had a great  time! If you have never traveled to Guatemala- please consider it. Not only is it very inexpensive for Americans to travel there, the country is simply gorgeous with its mountains and Mayan culture. You would be hard pressed to find a prettier city than Antigua. 
That being said, our primary purpose was to both deliver school supplies that we collected and to pay a visit to our school in Patzicia. The teacher at our Lets Be Ready School, Nery, is fantastic. He writes us every month with an update and send pictures regarding what the students have been doing. He is making amazing progress with these rural Pre K Mayan children . We received a hero's welcome upon arrival (although I consider the Lets Be Ready staff and teachers to be the true heros!) and had fun interacting with all the students. Nery gave a short speech on the importance of the work and how grateful the community was for our donations. Next, some of the mothers gave a short talk , expressing their gratitude. Nery insisted that I offer a few word in my halting Spanish. 
My twin 13 year old daughters had grumbled earlier about going on a "cultural " trip, but I can assure you they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and "got it" that what they were doing was not only important for the  school but for their own personal development. 
 This is my  5th consecutive year to visit both Guatemala and "our" school. I look forward to the trip every year and enjoy some of the simple fundraisers we do back home to raise money. I am certain  that we (the Reed family) are   getting as much out of our trip as the Guatemalans are. If not more. 

This is a copy of an email from Margarita Bejerano, one of our teachers to her sponsor. The teachers send them every month.

Hello, Marshon 
How are you? I hope it's ok…

To start I want to tell you our first day of school was an adventure, the children had fun and began to adapt; play, dance, we sing and read a story.

The first week was adaptive, so that children interact with more children and become familiar with the activities taking place at school.

We begin with the recognition of his name, showing them that there are letters and a group of letters form a word or a name; later, he will recognize his name and recognize the initial starting with his name.

We learned that there is a time to tell a story and that we must pay close attention to reading to answer questions that the teacher will ask. Since the program started with the "Star Books", we began with the story of "Hungry Caterpillar" and performed an activity:Children drew their own caterpillar with paint, making huellitas with their index finger.

We learned what the rules of conduct that we have at school. We must share and collaborate in school as needed. We also learned to follow instructions and to use the learning corners.

Finally this month we learned a lot that we need still to practice and continue practicing. I am very happy to return to a classroom and to teach.

I also tell you that now children of the morning moved in the afternoon with us. They are with Anaelisse, so now we have 23 children in the afternoon, but we are two teachers in charge of the group, Anaelisse and me. We have already organized and divided the children into 4 groups to do the routine and to have a better organization. I will keep telling you more about this in the month of March so you know what else we're doing.

Here shows pictures of the children who are with me and what we did in this last month.


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Organization Information

Lets Be Ready

Location: Longmont, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​letsbeready.org
Project Leader:
Fred Zambroski
phoenix, Arizona United States

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