La Puerta Abierta (Open Door) Library and Learning Center works to stimulate the love of reading and to model creative teaching methods for local educators. Due to a lack of income, ability and time, reading is not part of the culture in Santiago Atitlán. La Puerta Abierta is working to change that for future generations!
La Puerta Abierta school is a vibrant learning center for students of all ages. Mommy and Me classes are an opportunity for mothers to engage with their children in creative play, story time, and early childhood stimulation activities. La Puerta Abierta offers preschool through fourth grade for families at all income levels. The teen reading circle is a special time for teenagers to come together and discuss a book they have been reading as a group, socialize, and make new friends.The space is also used for high school scholarship student meetings. A traveling library takes books and creative learning to rural schools, teens, and senior citizens in Santiago.
“When we first started reading to the children, it was the first time some of them had seen a storybook (non-textbook). They were mesmerized and just wanted to touch the glossy pages. It was like a museum exhibit.”
– Amanda, Founder and Director of Puerta Abierta Library
Access to preschool is limited in Santiago Atitlán, and La Puerta Abierta seeks to fill that void. Unlike at other schools in the area, the teachers use songs, books, games, group learning, and other creative teaching methods to actively engage students. Both teachers and parents attribute the students’ success to these techniques. Class sizes are about two-thirds the size of public school classes.
Both parents and students were thrilled when they opened classes through the fourth grade. One parent stated, “I think this school is a strong support for the whole community. There are schools everywhere, but not like this. Here there are so many opportunities.”