Project - 3 Mariposas Montessori

3 Mariposas Montessori

This was a quick build not without its challenges. Read their report and see how they overcame their issues.

3 Mariposas Montessori (3MM) is located in La Cienaga, a neighborhood that lies on the Atlantic coast of the Dominican Republic, near the town of Cabarete. While people tend to think of the Dominican Republic as a successful country with money being brought in from overseas visitors, it is not always the case. Tourism has boomed in the Dominican Republic since the late 1990's, but many poor families without the necessary skills to benefit from this progress were left behind in barrios like La Cienaga. Homes are often overcrowded and lack indoor plumbing or electricity. Public schools are inadequate in staff and physical resources and are costly. Student-teacher ratios are high.

3MM tries to correct some of this inequity by securing for children from the surrounding neighborhood with an educational leg up by providing school for the youngest of its inhabitants. La Cienaga and the surrounding area is home to people from around the word - creating a unique socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic mix. The 3MM family reflects this mix, and believes that this diverse population is a strength. Six out of ten students attend on scholarship and are Dominicans or Haitians. Four out of ten students are tuition-paying children of foreign nationals or professional Dominicans. Everyone is learning about different cultures and races simply by being a part of 3MM. There is an English speaking adult in every classroom, making 3MM a fully bilingual (English/Spanish) school. The children are also fortunate to have at least one Montessori certified teacher working with them, 4 of the 7 are certified with another in progress. The classrooms extend to the outdoors where they plant and take care of the vegetable, flower and herb gardens and where they take care of chickens, by feeding, watering and cleaning their coop daily.

1 - 3 year-old students have a comfortable and safe space to work with their Montessori materials. Except for the first 25 minutes of the morning, the children are unable to engage in activities in their current classroom during the May - September months because the heat is unbearable. Therefore Forix will help 3MM build an addition to the classroom, El Nid patio, which will be a screened-in porch with elevated ceilings. This porch would allow the students to work productively and comfortably year round, instead of just 7 months of the year. By adding this new work space, children's academic development will improve by leaps and bounds, as it will be in this space where children will be able to actively manipulate Montessori materials which can only be used inside.

El Nid will be built in a a few weeks during the spring break and will be constructed using local help from within the community.

Once 3MM's girls who attend on scholarship turn eight, they are accepted into the Mariposa DR Foundation (MDRF) programs, without having to be put on their waiting list. Mariposa DRF helps the girls continue on with their education as well as life experiences focusing on athletics, arts and self-esteem.