KinderCaracol is a non-academic kindergarten for children ages 3-6 year-old, meeting five days a week from 8:30am-12:30pm. Our pedagogical foundation is to encourage a sense of wonder and reverence for life.
Upon this basis we sow the seeds of versatile creative capacities by nurturing the imagination and strengthening the will. An accent is placed on guiding children as they connect with their bodies, their imaginations, and the earth through creative play and practical work.
Fairy tales and folktales are highlighted that are rich in visual detail, have a bit of magic, and also embody rhythm and repetition. They are told on alternating days in different languages: Spanish, English and Kaqchikel. Along with the stories, KinderCaracol also promotes an appreciation of nature and the seasons/festivals of the year. For this reason we have small planting projects and continually monitor changes happening in the garden. Other activities that are highlighted on a weekly basis are cooking, watercolor painting, and movement.
A Typical Day
The typical day at KinderCaracol begins with an organized activity, such as painting or a craft, that attracts the attention of the children while also grounding their energy. This then flows into creative free play, where the kids dive into their imaginations and engage the various natural materials and toys at their disposal. After straightening and organizing the toys, circle time begins, where both gross and fine motor activities are incorporated with songs and poems. Snack time follows, and each child has a special job in the preparations. After cleaning up, we have outdoor playtime, which involves gardening projects, nature observation, various games, and free time to run, dig and climb. At the end of outdoor play, the children are always excited to return to our indoor space for story-time. Each day finishes with our circle of peace, where the children say goodbye and formally close the class. The events of the day are designed to ebb and flow, inhaling and exhaling between work and play, between structured activity and free time.
All of this is carried out with an accent on play, socialization, respect for one another and reverence for all living things. At this early age, children are encouraged but never required to participate in organized activity. KinderCaracol
aims to allow for a gradual unfolding of childhood.
If you are interested in enrolling or sponsoring a child in KinderCaracol, please contact us.
Escuela Caracol currently offers primary school classes for grades 1-6. In 2013, we added our first 6th grade class. The curriculum of the primary class can be seen like an ascending spiral, with extended classes each morning and blocks of study that focus on a subject for 3–6 weeks. Each day begins with the "main lesson" and during this time children study the traditional academic subjects (language arts, math, science, history). After a block of several weeks, we move to another subject, and usually return to each subject for another 2–3 blocks throughout the year. Great care is taken to teach each subject through the arts and movement. Whereas kindergarten children are taught largely by imitation, children in the grades begin to vastly expand the horizons of the imagination. Lighting the fire of imagination is the key to teaching children in the lower grades.
Our desire to teach to the whole child is reflected in our daily schedule: Children are taught in three languages: English,Spanish and Kaq'chikel (the local Mayan language). The main lessons each morning are taught in Spanish, and language classes are taught in the late morning in Spanish and Kaq'chikel. After lunch, classes are held in the specialty subjects, like music, art (drawing, painting, sculpture), handwork (sewing, knitting, weaving), yoga, gardening, dance, and physical education. We also make frequent excursions either to the lake for swimming lessons or into the mountain for day hikes.
Students generally enter the first grade around 6 or 7, when the teeth begin to change. If there is doubt about whether entering the first grade is appropriate for a child given his/her stage of development. our teachers will conduct an evaluation of the child in consultation with the parents.
Our Annual Calendar and Daily Schedule
2013 Academic Calendar
Jan 28 First Day of Classes
March 25-29 National Holiday: Holy Week, End of the Cycle
April 24 Parade for San Marcos
April 25-26 San Marcos Holiday Parade
May 1 San Marcos Holiday and Labor Day
May 18 School Anniversary Party (only open to the educational community)
June 6-7 End of the Cycle Vacation
June 10 Professional Work Day (no school for students)
July 13 – Aug 13 End of the Cycle Vacation (mid-year)
September 15 Independence Day Parade and Presentations
September 16-17 National Holiday: Independence Day
Oct. 31-Nov. 1 National Holiday: All Saints, End of the Cycle
November 4 Professional Work Day (no classes for students)
November 22 Last Day of Classes
November 23 6th Grade Graduation
November 30 Advent Spiral (only open to the educational community)
2013 Daily Schedule8:30 - All classes begin
10:00 - Snack for KinderCaracol
10:30 - Snack for Primary Grades
12:30 - KinderCarocol ends
12:30 - Lunch for Primary Grades
2:30 - Class ends for Primary Grades
*We reserve the right to cancel classes four additional days during the year. We will make up for any missed classes that exceed this. In the case of unexpected cancellation, phone calls will be made to all parents and a sign will be placed on the school door.
Escuela Caracol exists primarily to serve the Lake Atitlán community, but we do accept seasonal enrollment for a minimum of three months. We accept children for less than the minimum stay if families are willing to pay the enrollment and 3 months of tuition. If you are interested in enrolling your child at Escuela Caracol, please contact us by email to express your interest and inquire about space in our classes. Our classrooms are small, so space is limited. If there is availability, then you can begin the inscription process by downloading and filling out the forms below.
We will also need:
- Photocopy of Child’s Birth Certificate
- Annual Inscription Payment (contact us for more details)
Download our FAQ document