In the beginning we called ourselves the Matènwa Community School. Its mission was to help children learn information and receive training that would prepare them for their futures. In every subject, teachers experimented with concrete materials and fun activities to bring the curriculum to life. Children didn't just learn to read, write and do math, but also learned to research, think critically, and come up with creative solutions. Learn more here.
The Institute For Learning provides a series of one week teacher trainings for schools seeking to find a more effective way to teach. Teachers and directors have been coming to Matènwa, Lagonav from all over Haiti to learn through observation, dialogue, and hands on practice. They return to their own communities and try to emulate the Matènwa Way. We hope that each school succeeds or surpasses us. Learn more here.
Many children around the world do not acquire functional literacy skills even if they have had a K-3 education because they are not learning to read in their mother tongue. It is illogical to think that a child can read for meaning in a language for which he or she does not have a rich oral vocabulary. By sharing books across borders and translating them into a local mother tongue children are contributing to each other’s education and helping one another become literate. This social justice project brings joy to all who are reading, writing and exchanging books and promotes the creation of Mother Tongue school libraries. Learn more here.
Matènwa's most impressive example of hands on learning is in their gardens. It is here they are introduced to the concepts of child-centered learning, investigation, and critical thinking. All students learn every aspect of how to make a successful organic vegetable garden and fruit tree nursery. They work hard every week, tilling the beds, measuring, planting, hauling water, weeding, and removing insects by hand. They collect manure by the sack from surrounding fields to add to the compost pile. Their nutritious vegetables are harvested and sold to a group of women that run a business that provides a hardy school breakfast five days a week. The gardens have become a popular focal point for this community and all the other communities that are learning from Matènwa. Learn more here.
Every child has the opportunity to express themselves through art. Matènwa provides this in a variety of ways from creating music class to weaving baskets, to creating ones own book.