The Casa Llanta Fund pays for textbooks at Escuela Adelante in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.Escuela Adelante developed organically from free English classes based out of the local library. Co-founding director Carrie Valladares, an attorney for Microsoft in Seattle, envisioned bringing international education standards to San Juan del Sur in the form of a new type of international school. With program guidance from co-founding director Jamie Hunter, an American teacher and San Juan del Sur resident with a masters degree in education and child development, and the support of a dedicated teaching staff, the program has blossomed into the vibrant bilingual language learning center that it is today.
The program is a 2 year English language course taught in congruence with the ESL course at UPOLI (Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua) with books sourced from the Oxford University Press. The school is accessible and has a locally tailored fee structure to establish a sense of worth to the program but without prohibiting attendance from any eager local student.
The course is a supplemental program, meaning that students attend their primary local school in the morning and Escuela Adelante’s as an after school program. There are currently over 40 students enrolled, aged from 6 to 11.
The passion of the teaching staff is mirrored by the enthusiasm of the young language learners. Program Director Jamie Hunter is deeply committed to establishing an inspirational and healthy bilingual learning environment for students in San Juan del Sur. In her own words,
We are committed to honoring the unique needs of each student – whether that means preparing for university or a successful career as an entrepreneur in San Juan del Sur. Escuela Adelante offers a path to success for each student through full time English school, intensive ESL training, or through planned programs such as mobile education.
Spend a little time in the classroom and it’s easy to see why the kids love it. The classroom walls are decorated with colorful learning aids to artistically articulate English grammar such as the differences between prepositions, adjectives, pronouns and conjunctions. Foreign exchange programs visit regularly to offer one-on-one reading and speaking opportunities to put their learning to the test in real life scenarios. And best of all, English songs are regularly sung during class to teach practical vocabulary such as colors, shapes and months of the year.
How can you help? Make a donation here. Escuela Adelante is currently undergoing a capital raising campaign for much needed student scholarships, classroom supplies and eventually the construction of its very own school house.