Welcome to Ojalá Niños
Ojala Niños provides children of all ages in the Otomí indigenous rural community of San Miguel Viejo access to free daily classes in the arts, music, literacy, health, environment, computer technology, social consciousness and ethics, and many other essential and delightful activities.
This unique program is inspired by Albert Einstein’s words:
"I don’t teach my students. I give them a place to learn!”
The program offers alternative educational opportunities 5 afternoons a week, year round, at no charge. We provide space, materials, ideas and guidance as the principle focus for turning curiosity into exploration, discovery and learning. We emphasize the importance of social service and social justice in order to develop critical thinking skills, self confidence and sustainable work ethics.
These skills prepare the children of Ojalá Niños to take their rightful place in the local, national and international economic order.
Other professionals and organizations offer special projects, trainings and field trips that greatly expand their awareness beyond what they see every day. Providing this expanded view of the world prepares each child to understand the complex issues facing the planet and to make informed decisions in their best interest and the interest of future generations.
The programs of Ojala Niños A.C. offer an alternative to the learning model used in most public and private schools. It is “A Place for Learning” providing space, materials, ideas and guidance. This environment stimulates the integral processes in human beings that lead to the desire for life-long learning.
The three ideas that form the composite of the learning person are:
CURIOSITY: is the engine for learning in all beings. It is the force from the first days of life that leads to exploration, leading to discovery, leading to learning.
In our earliest days, curiosity requires guidance from older beings for safety. That guidance is called “teaching” in traditional education and usually implies a subtle level of authority over the learner. In the place-for-learning model learners are given the freedom to exercise curiosity.
SOCRATIC DIALOGUE: is simply the arts of questioning and conversing.
The most learned amongst us engage in this process, but it is also a delightful exercise with young children! The human mind becomes immediately engaged when a question is asked. It is like a light switch. “What do you think?” “What do you see?” “What did you hear?” All simple questions but producing profound thoughts that resonate in the learner. Dialogue requires two voices but can be expanded to include a group conversing about a question that has been posed. This is always a lively happening and inspires the desire for more such experiences.
THE CIRCLE: has been the physical form of human interaction throughout human history.
Our ancient tribal ancestors did not sit in rows to talk with each other or to think about collective problem solving. They did not sit in rows to hear a lecture or view a performance. The circle was the symbol of their interdependence. We still sit ‘around’ a table to share meals, we sit ‘around’ tables for meetings. Some ancestral memories still play out for us.
When children or learners of any age sit in a circle, or move in a circle, each person is very alert because they are seeing everyone else and experiencing a collective energy. Minds are engaged and there is an eagerness to express opinions, feelings or thoughts that are forming. It’s easy to listen to the opinions, feelings and thoughts of others – and participate!