Akumal’s Montessori Preschool, Otoch Paal 5th Year 9/09

A New School Year, A New School Classroom

Akumal’s Montessori preschool, Otoch Paal (meaning “Children’s House” in Mayan), initiated its 5th year of operation with a newly completed classroom. The school has two classrooms which serve preschool age children (3-5 years of age), and one classroom for children ages 20 months to 3 years old. The school does not have any state funding, but neither does it function as a private school. Instead, from its inception Otoch Paal has been conceived of a community center based in a grass-roots model of participation. Started by the director of the Cancun Montessori school, Gabriela Ortega Esquivel, the school was created to help fill an urgent need for the low income families of the area, many of whom are working parents with few alternatives for child care.

For those of you who have been following the Montessori articles, you know that the school has been blessed by a sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado which has helped build two classrooms and finish the construction of an additional two classrooms. The last classroom, which is used for language and art instruction, was completed in early September!

Some other changes have taken place school, in staffing. The school’s acting principal, Leo, and the school’s English teacher, Nadia, have both left to pursue other activities. They will be missed, but everyone is grateful for all the heart and effort they put into Otoch Paal during their time there.

The new acting principal is Graciela, and the new English teacher is Carla. They will both certainly bring new talents to contribute to the school community. All other teaching staff have returned from prior years, which is indicative of the dedication of the Otoch Paal staff and the positive feedback they receive from their good work with the children which sustains them. Come by and see the school, visitors are encouraged and its worth the trip across the bridge!

Stay tuned in to future editions of Sac Be for the continuation of our article series: “What is Montessori Preschool?”

To see a Montessori preschool in operation, come visit Otoch Paal 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/

The Rotary Club of Fort Collins, Colorado has completed its promise to construct and complete all the school classrooms! A most heartfelt thank you to the Foothills Rotary Club, and the Playa del Carmen Rotary Club, for helping this wonderful little school. Are you part of a Rotary Club that wants to get involved? Contact Ron Rockvam of the Foothills Rotary Club at: dvantage@msn.com

Directions to Otoch Paal:
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 (Mi>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.

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