Recently our parent organization, Deportes para Compartir, was covered by Univision 34 Los Angeles in an ongoing program series on the Mexican education system. The plight of the Mexican education system is no secret, but is perhaps accentuated by the first ever education census taken in Mexico just last year, and released last month. Some of the results are rather astonishing, with at least a third of the schools having infrastructure problems, and 39,000 teachers and school faculty either missing or not identified. When such basic problems exist, it is not hard to imagine the effectiveness of the core curriculum suffering, leading to many students dropping out of the education system altogether. While systemic change has a ways to go, there are several programs, like our own Deportes para-Compartir, that are already hard at work changing the attitude and instilling innovative ways to keep children interested in their education. It is inspiring organizations like Deportes that are the focus of Univision’s series on Mexican education, “Desaburrame!” hosted by Unvision 34’s Felicidad Aveleyra. (Disclaimer: All videos are in Spanish)
Breaking apart from the traditional repetition and memorization of information mold, Deportes para-Compartir focuses on encouraging student creativity and self-awareness. Deportes allows students to understand their own identities, and through sports and games teach them important civic values such as tolerance, respect and empathy. By having students learn these concepts through collaborative play and team-building games, students learn to become better learners, better group workers, empowering students to become responsible, active citizens. These are lessons that are valuable for the rest of their lives.
In the third part of the program, Felicidad describes that Deportes para-Compartir wants children to become better citizens, aware of social issues and actively thinking of solutions. The games we incorporate always place broader meanings into the learning environment. A key to the success is the motivation the program instills in the teachers and parents to be involved equally (they enjoy playing the games too!). Cultural exchange across Mexican state and international borders is a large part of the program. The biggest example of this exchange is the Treasure Box, in which kids demonstrate their diversity by making “treasures” or symbols of their culture with arts and crafts and putting them into the treasure box. These treasure boxes are then sent and exchanged with another school in a different region for the students at the participating school to open.
Felicidad Aveleyra has a point: children are not just the future, they are the present and can play an important role in breaking down social barriers in our society today. They can do much more than we give them the capability to do, and think of solutions to our global problems through creativity and collaboration. It is up to us to give them the keys to drive social change, and form better citizens from childhood through the universal language of play. Thank you to Felicidad Aveleyra for covering our parent organization, Deportes para-Compartir, and be sure to check out the video series embedded in this post and Univision’s photo slideshow on the exclusive report.
(Photo: Univsion 34) Desaburreme!