The before and after school program is designed to give students extra help with their school work and to also utilize music, dance and art as a way to inspire learning.
The program runs on Tuesday and Thursday morning and Monday and Wednesday afternoon. (In Nicaragua, because schools are not large enough for all of the students, they are broken into a morning and afternoon session. Therefore, the students who study in the afternoon attended the program in the morning, and students who study in the morning, attend in the afternoon). The program is run by two teachers, and is attended by more than 75 elementary age students (sons and daughters of the WIA members). The program includes an hour of homework review, an hour of music and dance, and an hour or arts and crafts and recreation. Special workshops are also offered on topics such as gender roles, drugs and alcohol, and health and hygiene.
By putting special attention on music, dance, and art, students are offered a fun way to learn. Studies show that students who are engaged and who find enjoyment in education are far more motivated to learn.
The public elementary school in La Primavera, the impoverished neighborhood where Women in Action and their children live, is far too small for the number of students in the neighborhood. There are more than 1,800 students in the school! That is around 900 in the morning and another 900 in the afternoon. There are only 12 classroom in the school and the average class size is 65! With only one teacher per classroom, and so many students, it is impossible for the teachers to give special attention to students who fall behind.
That is why we feel that the before and after school program has been one of our most successful and important programs. It gives children a chance to do things they cannot do in school; to be creative, to sing, and to dance. It also gives them a chance to get extra help with school material that they find difficult, and to get the extra attention they need to succeed in class. Before the program began, there were nearly 40 children who had less than passing grades. A few months after the program was initiated, all of the students had passing grades. What better way to judge the success of this program