“La Aldea has been warmly welcomed by the students. The fun and beautiful images and metaphors in this pedagogical tool show the importante of meaningful learning experiences. Moreover, ClickArte’s teacher training work has been a cause for celebration. Through this process we have reached 20 schools, 16 education centers and 10 PTA teachers; this represents 5000 students”.

Jairo Vela, Sub-secretary of Education, Ipiales, Nariño.

“We believe that La Aldea has been a tool to strengthen pedagogical processes in schools in Ipiales, under the Secretariat of Education. This strategy has benefited teachers in their teaching experience and many of them are deeply committed to its implementation in the classroom”.

Jairo Vela, Sub-secretary of Education, Ipiales, Nariño.

“La Aldea is very creative and innovative. It integrates play, story-telling and characters that relate to the whole experience of going back to school. It has elements for learning skills and offers play-based learning environments which are thoroughly designed and conceived for children. Additionally, the strategy can be adapted to many different contexts and educational communities, both nationally and internationally”.

Gloria Jurado Erazo, Secretary of Education, Pasto, Nariño

“Currently, we are focusing on returning to face-to-face education. This has been a challenging experience because the pandemic has left us with many fears. So La Aldea -from Unicef and ClickArte- has been a fundamental strategy. Thanks to this intitiative, our teachers, students, school administrators and the whole school community in our town have had an ally to keep pushing forward. 10 of our schools, which represents around 5000 students and 240 teachers, have benefited from this wonderful strategy. This strategy has been highly valued by teachers, and the secretariat is completely on board with it”.

Gloria Jurado Erazo, Secretary of Education in Pasto

Harry has been traveling all over Colombia! In this interview he shares his feelings with us

He is noble, sweet, generous and rather skittish. But in spite of his insecurities, the chameleon ventured outside La Aldea to travel all over Colombia and live an unforgettable experience. 

After following him for a number of days and encountering a series of geographical and technical difficulties, we finally managed to interview Harry. This chameleon has traveled non-stop through many different territories in Colombia with a single mission: visiting rural and urban schools delivering La Aldea books and talking to teachers that are learning new ways of teaching in this world in transition. In this interview, he shares his feelings with us, the stories from his journey and what has been the best thing about stepping out of his confort zone. 

Click: Tell us, Harry, what has it been like leaving La Aldea?  

Harry: Oh, leaving La Aldea has been a though experience! I miss my friends, my branch-house and my adventures exploring the forest. Plus, I have seen some huge scary metal birds flying above in the sky! But with the help from my friends from Click, I’ve been brave during my journey.

C: Which places have you visited? 

E: In the last year I have discovered new landscapes, a sleeping volcano, the ice-cold weather in Pasto and Ipiales, and the warm sun in Arauca and La Guajira. I also visited Barranquilla and was enamored by its tail-wagging ambience and its air filled with flowers, music and celebration. 

C: What have you liked best about this experience?  

E: What I have enjoyed the most is to learn from so many owl teachers in different urban and rural schools. I have learned from their experience and talk to them about their emotions and the challenges of teaching. Oh! And watch them follow Peter’s exercises has been so fun too. It’s nice to learn alone, but learning with other has been wonderful! 

C: Will we be seeing more of you soon? What are your projects for the future? 

E: The young animals will soon go back to school and their families will keep participating in their education with the same passion as they did during the quarantine. I have a bunch of ideas for new episodes of “On the Air with Harry” and I will be inviting more owls, families and young animals to talk to. I want every village to sing the same song for a new education.

“With La Aldea we have changed the meaning of education”

Francisco Emilio Juajinoy is the principal at the Artemio Mendoza Carvajal school, in Pasto. During an interview, he talked to us about the challenges of reopening schools and the importance of new educational strategies such as La Aldea: Stories for a world in transition.

For Francisco Emilio Juajinoy, the principal at the  Artemio Mendoza Carvajal school in Pasto, reopening has not been an easy process. For teachers, students and their families things have not been not easy either. Truth is, even after all the changes made to the school facilities to ensure health and safety, the main difficulty, according to the principal, remains the emotional component of such a radical change. During this interview, Francisco talks to us about these challenges and highlights the significance of having innovative education strategies such as La Aldea: Stories for a world in transition.

Click: ¿What does it take for a school community to meet again in the classroom? ¿What challenges are you facing during this process? 

Francisco Emilio Juajinoy: Going back to in-person learning is very difficult. The pandemic showed us that things changed, so we have to change. We are living in a different society, with new rules that compel us to value life. But reopening school is much more than just ensuring health and safety conditions. This is a radical change that must me assumed from an emotional perspective as well.

Education is a deeply human process. But during the pandemic and the reopening of schools, this human component has reduced. We have forgotten the teacher and his or her emotions and fears; we have forgotten parents’ fear of sending kids back to school; we have forgotten children’s fear of being responsible for an infection; and we have forgotten the fear that we, as school administrators, feel when assuming such a big responsibility.  

C: ¿Can an educational strategy such as La Aldea help in facing these difficulties?

FJ: With La Aldea we can immediately approach the emotions triggered by the return to school through a process that creates a culture of self-care and respect for others. These kind of strategies are precisely what we need to reconsider the traditional method of teaching. It’s a tool that encourages teachers to analyze the new reality and their students environment, and that help them carry out a new teaching-learning model. 

We need new strategies like this one, because they allow us to modify the teaching process and be more flexible with teachers. We have to embolden teachers in any way we can so they feel safe and secure, not only through hand-washing, but by using teaching tools like La Aldea. Trough these tools they have been able to develop more creative, efficient and meaningful processes. 

C: ¿Can La Aldea be an asset for imagining new ways of learning? 

FJ: Education has to radically change! Otherwise, we would be ignoring all the transformations we are currently living in our world. Starting from their own knowledge and teaching practice, teachers need to do the same in a different way. They need to adopt a different outlook, one in which children can evaluate and think about their own lives, experiences and diverse contexts. 

La Aldea’s contribution is precisely to transform educational strategies. With La Aldea we have changed the meaning of education, and the meaning of the teacher-student relation in the classroom.  

C: ¿Can students learn in a different way through La Aldea universe? 

FJ: Of course. With La Aldea, students feel part of a transformative educational process, where each of them has the chance to express themselves in a flexible environment, far from the rigid framework of the traditional student-teacher relation. They have the chance to learn in a way that is different, autonomous and fun. 

The teacher from Nariño using La Aldea to teach English

Adriana Álvarez participated in the training program for the implementation of La Aldea as a return to school and blended learning strategy. She tells us about her experience of using this tool in her classroom.

A vaccine against COVID-19, a bee guarding a heart, a syringe, a message of support for science… were some of the drawings and messages created by students in Adriana Alvarez’s classroom. She’s an english teacher, working at the Artemio Mendoza Carvajal school, in the town of San Juan de Pasto, in the Nariño department.

She decided to use La Aldea: Stories for a world in transition in order to improve student motivation and tackle subjects like health, self-care and the protection of life. “I have been using La Aldea to teach English, because it allows me to approach cross-cutting contents and secure my student’s attention to open up conversations on current subjects”, Adriana says.

According to the teacher, La Aldea has been useful because it enhances learning of a foreign language through the exploration of new and surprising subjects and activities. She has introduced meaningful reflections in her classroom, such as the importance of following health and safety protocols, ensuring the well-being of the school community and caring about others. As an English teacher, the strategy has been very useful for Adriana. But she thinks it could also be used in any other course.

La Aldea is a tool for everyone. With it you can teach mathematics, social sciences, english (…). And the best of all: it allows the development of beautiful academic projects where students can form their own ideas, not just to get a grade, but because they understand that learning and sharing is really worth it.

“With this educational strategy I want my students to look around them and recognize all the effort that has been made to improve the school facilities and to give them all they need to care for themselves and their families during the return to school”, the teacher points out. At the end, with the help of the characters in La Aldea, what she and her students have though about the most is that protecting life is much more than just a rule; it’s all about developing a mindset to understand that if I take care of myself, then I take care of others.

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