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Otoch Paal Montessori Community Center

Location: Akumal, Q. Roo, Mexico
Website: Website
Program Established: April 2004
# of Children: 70 Ages Served: 18 months-6 years
Immediate Needs:
  1. Operating funds to support teacher salaries and classroom supplies.
  2. Funds to put a new roof on the kiosk where events are held in the strong mid-day sun.
  3. Donations to construct elementary classrooms.
Contact Person: Tita Llerandi
Contact Information: centrocomunitariomaya@gmail.com

Otoch Paal Montessori Community Center is a labor of love designed to educate the indigenous children from the Mayan Riviera. Otoch Paal makes it possible for families with low incomes from the community of Akumal and neighboring areas to have high quality pre-school education for children ages 18 months to 6 years. Our next goal is to add new buildings to house an elementary program with separate boys and girls bathrooms as required by the Secreteria de Educacion Publica.

The school offers an authentic Montessori education, based on the philosophy, teachings and methods of Maria Montessori. The Community Centre currently has around 60 children in four environments, one for 18 month to 3 year olds, two for 3 – 6 year olds and one for teaching English. Each environment is in the form of a circular shelter; the typical dwelling of the Mayan culture. The parents of the families meet every Sunday with a common objective: to improve the facilities and to collaborate with tasks that ensure their children will receive the very best education. The mothers keep the rooms clean and work together to make some of the materials that their children use. All of them are enthused with a spirit of hope and harmony. The marvels of nature and the warmth of the people have allowed a true Montessori community to be embraced daily.

Since the first class opened in 2004, we have made significant advances. With the newly added facilities, we have more than doubled the number of children we serve. English classes have been added, so that with their knowledge of Spanish and Mayan, the children will be tri-lingual. We have also started classes for artistic expression and opportunities to participate in sports. The children work in an atmosphere of respect, openness and confidence in keeping with the mission of Otoch Paal Montessori Community Centre.

The Infant Room gives an opportunity for mothers to work in nearby hotels; in this way they can significantly improve the family's finances.

The Community Centre promotes the cultural heritage of the Mayan region through teaching the language and celebrating special events at school. Children and their parents are invited to wear the traditional dress of huipiles, ternos and guyaberas. Grandmothers also are active participants on these occasions. They came to the school on the Day of the Dead to make pibes, a traditional dish of the region.

All members of the community work together with great dedication to provide the best possible environment for the families of Akumal and neighboring areas. We appreciate any support you can give us.

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