A couple of weeks ago, as I attended my fourth-grade son’s open house, I marveled at how much technology even young children have at their disposal. Each classroom was wired, linked, looped and interfaced in every way possible. And this was at an elementary school! I compared this to my experiences traveling in the developing world, visiting classrooms that were lucky to have electricity, much less have access to the internet.
In particular, my thoughts returned to a little school I visited last year in the Nicaraguan highlands that had very little in the way of technology. Still, they were achieving amazing results through their creative approach to education, employing a combination of techniques including Montessori and Open Teaching concepts.
Father Fabretto Children’s Foundation is an afterschool program located in the town of Estellí. There more than 450 at-risk children show up every day, excited and eager to learn. Most of these kids literally hated their regular classes until they started attending the Fabretto program. Now, they love school! And they love their teachers and the Lord who made it all possible!
What’s the reason for this turnaround in their attitudes? It isn’t because they have a fancy air-conditioned facility with a state-of-the-art computer lab. In fact, at Fabretto the students have little more than desks and chairs. They even create their own education toys and teaching aids.
I believe it is because the teachers at Fabretto have talent and an uncanny dedication to God that have inspired their young students to want to learn. And that is something we surely wish upon all children!