What is Montessori Preschool Part 5

Otoch Paal (meaning “Children’s House” in Mayan) Montessori Community Center of Akumal started its fourth year of operation with a brand new, fourth classroom! The school now has two preschool/kindergarten classrooms for children ages 3-6 years, one classroom for children ages 20 months to 3 years, and one classroom for language (English & Mayan) classes.

With financial assistance from the Foothills Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado and construction management supplied by fellow Rotarians from the Playa Del Carmen Rotary Club in Mexico, Otoch Paal was able to significantly expand its early education services.

In late 2007 and early 2008, the Foothills Rotary Club raised almost $35,000 in cash and pledges from its club members for this project. With their financial assistance, the fourth classroom has been added and is now being used so that children in the preschool age group can work under less crowded conditions.

The Foothills Rotary Club of Fort Collins celebrated 30 years of existence in 2007 and to commemorate that event, decided to find an international service project of its own.

As a result of existing contacts that two club members (Art Bavoso and Ron Rockvam) had in Mexico, a match was found with fellow Rotarians in the Playa Del Carmen Rotary Club.

In 2007, Otoch Paal was serving 30 children in two classroom buildings. Their dream was to expand to four classroom buildings, have a covered outdoor shaded play area, serve 120 children, and become fully certified by the government. Fulfilling their dream required the construction of two new classroom buildings (which are now both completed), a covered “kiosk” (multi-use area), and the renovation of the two existing buildings to accommodate concrete roofs, rather than the existing palapa roofs (which was one of the government requirements).

Thanks to the fundraising efforts and generosity of the Foothills Rotary Club, Otoch Paal is one step closer to achieving this dream!

Renovation work on the original two existing classrooms is targeted for completion in April of 2009 but more funds will be needed. Additionally, more Montessori learning materials are needed in order to have duplicate materials for both of the operating preschool classrooms.

Are you part of a Rotary Club that wants to get involved? Contact Ron Rockvam of the Foothills Rotary Club at: dvantage@msn.com

Are you associated with a Montessori school that could donate used learning materials for the preschool classroom? Contact Eleonor Bermudez Ferrer of Otoch Paal at:


Come visit Otoch Paal Montessori Community Center in Akumal Pueblo! Otoch Paal welcomes visitors who are interested in seeing how a Montessori Center operates. Classes are in session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are asked to come between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

How you can help. As a non-profit, community-based, learning center, Otoch Paal does not generate sufficient funds to pay for all necessary school improvements. Monetary donations and donations in kind are always welcome. Donations can be made directly at the school.

Or more information can be found at: http://montessoriaroundtheworld.org/otoch.html

Directions: The school is located near the back of Akumal Pueblo, on the Northern edge of the town. It can be reached by following the Pueblo’s main street (avenida) to the fourth block on the right hand side of the street. After passing the secondary and kindergarten schools (which are on the main street), turn right at the corner where the kindergarten is located and continue to the next corner. Otoch Paal is next to the kindergarten and the entrance is at the far corner, near the town’s edge.

New preschool classroom at Akumal's Montessori, under construction. From left to right are: Ron & Janice Rockvam of the Foothills Rotary Club,  Gabriel Briceño of the Playa del Carmen Rotary Club, Mario Mogel, contractor, and Eleonor Bermudez Ferrer of Otoch Paal Montessori.

Children using the new preschool classroom at Otoch Paal.

Buy Playa Real Estate Advisors

Akumal Villas