“If you educate a boy, you educate an individual. If you educate a girl, you educate a community.” –An African Proverb
Each classroom has a new name representing a value for students to focus on for each year:
Kindergarten – 2 classrooms Princess and Wings
First grade is Honesty
Second grade is Responsibility
Third Grade is Love
Fourth Grade is Solidarity
Fifth Grade is Respect
Sixth Grade is Dignity
Our curriculum includes quality primary education using interactive teaching methods to build self-confidence, encourage self-expression and fully engage the girls in the lesson. For example: making costumes from recycled materials to be used to act out in ‘theater style’ a part of history; kindergarten students learn to stand in front of the entire student body and teachers to recite their poem; older students model for younger students levels of empowerment achieved.
Learning to read begins in kindergarten with picture books, and by first grade our girls are reading simple storybooks. The first in many families to read, they proudly take storybooks home to read to siblings and parents. The first of many doors are opened with books and the ability to read. Our girls are in love with the ability to read and understand the stories by themselves. Book reports are shared with classmates.
On the first day of school each year, the new 4 & 5 year old students are matched up with a seasoned big sister to mentor, build trust in CW school environment, and welcome the excited but nervous girls to school. Our girls are often the first females in their families to receive an education. All of our students come from the same socioeconomic living situation and quickly bond and support one another creating a loving and caring environment.
Art, Dance and Theater:
Art – to awaken the creative flow and creative thought and to enhance the learning of math, science and other subjects.
Dance – to share with pride their indigenous Andean culture and music, and have some fun physical exercise.
Theater – to act out parts of Peruvian or Inca history, like Inti Raymi and Peru Independence from Spain, using recycled materials to make costumes to awaken the responsibility for all to care for the environment.
In addition to the regular curriculum Spanish, English, and Quechua are also taught.
Quechua – is taught to enhance and honor their native mother tongue.
Spanish – is essential to obtain an education and be included in the overall Cusco society.
English – is a global language and will allow students to connect with the rest of the world and to compete for jobs in the future.
CW provides hot oatmeal upon arrival for 50% of students who arrive hungry and a nutritious daily hot meal midday for all students. Proper nutrition is essential for every student to be alert and able to focus on studies and to maintain healthy bodies and minds. For many this is often their only daily meal. Our families struggle with poverty, some have little more than a small adobe room, herbal tea, bread and watery potato soup daily. More than 1/3 of our girls have been diagnosed as malnourished and serious anemia during our CW March medical evaluation at the start of each school year, thus making them vulnerable with a lowered immune system. TB (endemic among the poor in Cusco) has been diagnosed in a few of our girls (requiring immediate action for them and to protect the other students) The implementation of the high protein meal program with added vitamins and iron is slowly restoring their health. We recognize this must be an ongoing program for academic success and to maintain healthy bodies and minds.
“Uneducated girls are at constant risk of hunger, illness, abuse, early motherhood and lifelong poverty. Education with school meals = sharp minds, and a future with unlimited opportunity” – Rae Lewis
CW School Garden Project:
CW has recently added a vegetable garden to supply the school kitchen with fresh vegetables and to educate our girls regarding proper nutrition for healthy bodies.
CW Animal Production:
CW is raising guinea pigs (cuyi), and sheep to provide animal protein for our daily meals and to improve the health of our girls and their immune system.
Empowerment and Personal Development:
Girls learn young from their mothers and grandmothers that they are inferior to boys and are destined to suffer abuse, poverty and oppression all their lives. Girls are taught early in childhood to find a man to support their basic needs, but more often many become single teen mothers, abandoned by the father, with no skills to survive economically. Child abandonment will often follow.
CW school is specifically designed for poor indigenous girls who suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence. We reward all achievements with public praise showing them their worth, raising their level of confidence and their self-esteem through constant reinforcement. CW school, through our unique style of education, empowers girls to become future women leaders of Peru and to change the outdated beliefs of Andean society that favors boys, supporting the belief that girls are inferior. CW school receives young girls for kindergarten at 4 or 5 years of age and they are with us for 8 years, giving them the time to heal and grow strong with confidence to confront the mainstream society that does not value rural girls. CW graduates are demonstrating their achievements to the community daily and CW impact is slowly changing these old beliefs.
CW provides safe school transportation to and from school for vulnerable young rural girls unable to walk the long distance to school alone. Each teacher meets students at a designated place to wait for the CW bus pick up. The school bus shuttle starts at 7 am, and makes 2 round trips, picking up the older girls first. Older girls begin class at 7:45 am and end at 2:30 pm. The younger girls begin classes at 8:30 am and end at 2 pm. Because of safe van transportation school attendance is 99%.
No safe transport=no school for these girls.
Learning how to vote and have your voice counted, CW school holds an election to choose a school Mayor each year and to teach this civic responsibility to students -indirectly to parents through their daughters- for change to occur. Official podium, voting tables and ballot boxes were borrowed from the local Municipal Local Elections. All participated, learned and took home to share.
Annual Medical and Dental Exam:
Every March, at the beginning of our school year, Ruth, our school administrator, petitions the Municipality of San Sebastian for the medical team to come to CW school to do limited physical exams and blood tests for every student. Last year we discovered the prevalence of malnutrition and anemia in our students. We are taking nutritional steps to combat these maladies.
CW was fortunate to receive a sponsor for 2 years running for dental examinations and restorations of all 110 of our students. This program required contracting a dentist who installed his portable equipment in a space at the school for most of the year. All students had their first ever dental exam and treatment at the start of this program in 2014. Last year the exams on all the girls required few restorations, due to the Oral Care classes provided by a dental student to our parents and students.