We provide fun, creative, and quality English classes to the students of El Hato from preschool through high school. We also incorporate English into our after school library, art, and summer camp courses.
Health and Nutrition
In 2014, we were able to provide all of our students with toothbrushes and toothpaste, and we were able to provide the preschool and kindergarten students vitamins. Health and hygiene lessons are incorporated in the curriculum and our preschool students have the opportunity to groom themselves at the hygiene corner during independent work time each day. The classroom is equipped with facial wipes, nail clippers, a brush, and comb. Water in the village is inconsistent, so our students feel comfortable knowing that they can freshen up when they get to school.
In addition, we provide the public school with basic hygienic materials they wouldn’t other wise have available, such as extra clothing in case of emergencies, toilet paper, soap, lice treatment, and cleaning supplies.
Due to the poor access to water, we have been working on water solutions which have included installing three rainwater tanks and fixing the bathroom plumbing and drainage.
As for nutrition, we collaborate with Earth Lodge to provide a healthy snack to each of our students.
Early Childhood Education
Our bilingual Montessori style preschool program serves 4- to 5-year-olds. The Las Manos teachers in El Hato work side by side with the public school teachers to provide an integrated program which meets the requirements of the national curriculum and allows the children freedom to learn and explore independently.
We work with the public school to provide a library space equipped with books and materials for the students in the community. All of our students have the privilege of borrowing books to take home and have been respecting the books and grateful for this opportunity.
This project helps approximately 2 to 7 children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade each day with remedial studies. The program is aimed at children who suffer from learning difficulties or those who have recently arrived at the school with absolutely no school experience – in this case they often cannot read, nor write, nor know how to hold a pen or pencil. Some have speech impediments and some suffer from anemia or iron deficiencies. Others are in need of a psychologist each week to help them deal with family related issues. The work that we do with these children is life changing for them and gives them the help that they wouldn't receive otherwise.
This program is completely run by volunteers, and changes in response to requests from our students and the availability of volunteers. We currently teach art after school twice per week and as part of the secondary school curriculum once per week. The library is open after school for students to seek extra help in English, reading, or to work on a puzzle.
During the winter break, we run a six-week summer camp which ranges in activities such as sports, dance, art, yoga, English, and math.
Art and Extra-curricular
Eight years ago (when was this written?) a few motivated local teachers had the desire to provide the opportunity for higher education (above the 6th grade) to the community. El Hato became a satellite site of the Instituto Guatemalteco Educativo Radiofonico (IGER) program. This program offers primary through bachillerato (high school) courses and is geared toward working adults. This is the only high school equivalent program around and students travel from the villages above and below to attend. Las Manos provides support to IGER through English and art classes, and by providing materials for the carpentry and sewing courses.
IT and Communications Program
We maintain the school's computer lab - equipped through some generous donations! - which the students use to learn important skills and knowledge in communications and technology. Few of the children's families own computers, and so this is an essential part of an education that gives the students an opportunity to flourish in the modern world.