La Puerta Abierta Atitlán
The Puerta Abierta is a vibrant learning center for students of all ages with a focus on meaningful education and literacy outreach in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. We offer creative teaching practices that awaken a love for learning and exploration in our students and teachers.
Our mission is to empower children and families to use creativity, critical thinking and literacy to become innovative problem solvers, agents of change and leaders within their community.
At the Puerta Abierta we believe that all children and their families deserve a dignified and progressive education, one that evokes curiosity about the world we live in.
We support a mothers' artisan group that makes handicrafts for sale.
We offer an innovative pre K-6 school, library, traveling library, mothers' artisan group, teacher trainings, clubs (art, chess, music, English, puppets, garden), and reading circles.
Our primary issues are education, literacy, and teacher training, based upon evidence of low academic and literacy skills in our communities.
There are over 3,650 people, most of which are primary grade (preK- 6th grade) students who benefit from our programs. Other beneficiaries include students, teachers and family members.
Teacher trainings for literacy and new Libros Abiertos programs are in 19 different sites across Guatemala. The Traveling Library program is in six different schools community schools.
We have been a force in leading, promoting and developing alternative education in rural Guatemala where traditionally educational philosophies have been rooted in conventional teaching techniques. Our center, which includes a prek-6th grade school, library, mothers' artisan group, community garden, professional development, and teen reading circles empowers children and families to use creativity, critical thinking and literacy to become influential agents of change within their community.
In addition to receiving academic classes, our learning community also benefits from exposure to art, music, drama, nature, and play, inviting students to be the creators and producers of their own activities. While maintaining cultural integrity, we also integrate interactive learning opportunities into our curriculum to inspire curiosity in our children and to enhance problem-solving skills. We understand that early access to books is crucial to developing a child’s imagination and literacy skills. Our center hosts a large collection of books. Our Traveling Library reaches out to local schools sharing story hours, book kits and creative activities.
We believe that our teachers are valued facilitators, deserving continuous education for professional growth. Training just one teacher in innovative teaching practices has an infinite positive influence. We also host and provide professional development for outside teachers, based upon our model, to share our experience and philosophy.
Yearly, students at PA receive a reading assessment that measures skills in fluency and comprehension. Also, teachers who participate in our professional development and literacy trainings first receive exposure to a concept, then accompaniment with a trainer from Libros Abiertos/PA in the classroom, and finally observation and feed back from the trainer.
Observations provide insight about concepts that have been effectively mastered. Partnering schools receive quarterly visits to evaluate the progress of the Libros Abiertos Program in the capacity of student engagement with books, teacher innovation in sharing books and enhancement in creating a reading culture.
Size and/or structure
Over the past 15 years, we have grown from a staff of two to a staff of 16!
Our program began as a library and has extended into a school, learning center and library.
Way in which you collaborate or work with others
We collaborate with many organizations throughout the country via teacher trainings.
We hope to amplify our teacher training programs.
We hope to create high quality manuals that can be reproduced and shared.
We hope to share the gift of reading and literacy with new populations.
Our long term objectives are sustainability, sustainability, sustainability!