We are proud to run six Preschool Nutrition Centers in rural communities throughout the Lake Atitlán region. These centers give children from the some of the most impoverished families the chance to start their education as early as possible and to receive critical nutritional assistance so they can grow up healthy and strong.
Our Preschool Nutrition Centers focus on four main areas:
Nearly half of all preschool-aged children in Guatemala are malnourished? Within the indigenous communities we work in, up to 80% of children under the age of five may be chronically malnourished. Poor nutrition during the early years of development can cause these children to suffer lifelong physical and cognitive impairments that are often irreversible, and can seriously inhibit their ability to have a successful education.
That’s why we provide each preschool student with a nutritious meal and snack every day, as well as a daily multivitamin in partnership with Vitamin Angels, and regular anti-parasite treatments thanks to Caplin Point Laboratories. Mayan Families staff members also monitor the growth of each student to ensure they are attaining adequate height and weight for their age.
Early Learning for School Readiness
In Guatemala, over half of students in rural areas fail first grade. We are proud to report that we have increased the pass rate by 50%! Our Preschool Nutritional Centers offer essential education in the areas of early literacy, language and communication, colors and shapes, artistic expression as well as social and civic participation. Curriculums are based on Guatemalan Ministry of Education Standards and evaluations are carried out quarterly to measure success.
In most of the communities where our Preschool Nutrition Centers are located, Spanish is not spoken in the home. Children grow up learning and communicating in the regional indigenous Maya languages of Kaqchickel or Tz’utujil. The public Guatemalan school curriculum is taught in Spanish, and students without that language preparation are at an extreme disadvantage. Our centers offer bilingual education to ensure Spanish fluency among our students. By introducing Spanish at an earlier age we effectively take advantage of the developmental stage at which children are more susceptible to language acquisition.
Parent Education & Involvement
Many of preschoolers’ parents did not receive a formal education and are unfamiliar with (and often intimidated by) the educational system. We help parents support their children by providing informational sessions and one-on-one discussions about the importance of school attendance, evaluation methods and more. We also use this opportunity to educate parents on key topics such as hygiene and family planning.
How to get involved
We proudly operate each one of our Preschool Nutrition Centers, which requires funding teachers’ and cooks’ salaries, rent, classroom supplies, electricity, and other maintenance as necessary. Help us keep running our five Preschool Nutrition Centers by donating today!
- $350 Provides 30 children with a teacher for one month
- $700 Gives all 5 preschools access to electricity for one year
- $7,210 Entirely funds a classroom of 30 children for one year