A Busy Week at Abriendo Mentes!

By Ilene Solomon

Between exams for all of the students, the Corn Festival, Game Day with Ilene and Peter, and Gymnastics Day with Lynn and Shannon, this week has been non-stop action!

All of the kids have been studying extremely hard for their exams. 1st grade has been learning all about pets, hobbies, and clothing, while 2nd grade has been busy with hobbies, traditional games, and clothing. 3rd and 4th grades spent the week working on leisure time activities, utensils, clothing, and food. Lastly, 5th & 6th grades studied different types of entertainment (hobbies), stores and places around town, legends and cooking recipes.

In our hands-on approach to learning, Abriendo Mentes volunteers created innovative ways to teach the students. Anna put together the pets and clothing topics for the younger students by making paper-dolls. But these weren’t your average paper-dolls to clothe…instead, the kids got to choose outfits for their pets! Shannon and Emily helped the kindergarten students learn about the letter “K” by making king’s crowns, while Ilene and Peter hand-made a Memory Game set with the Spanish and English words for various fruits and vegetables. The kids got a lot of study time in, but more importantly, they had fun!

Another big event took place on Wednesday: the Costa Rican Corn Festival! Fiesta del Maiz is held in mid-October to celebrate corn production; clothes are made out of corn husks and corn-based foods are enjoyed. At school, each grade chose a male and female class representative, who strutted their stuff down the runway. From shirts made of corn bags, earrings studded with corn kernels, and dresses lined with dyed corn, each kid’s outfit was beautiful and so unique! A parade around Potrero’s plaza gave the whole town a chance to see the kids decked out in corn. We finished off the fiesta with a delicious chicken, rice and corn soup and Costa Rican style snowcones.


Verenice in her corn outfit

To end their week of studying, the AM volunteers planned fun activities and a Gymnastic Day for the kids. They crawled through the tunnel like lions, climbed up the mountains, dodged the poisonous snakes in the swamp, and jumped over hot lava in our Costa Rican obstacle course, and danced the afternoon away to a freeze dance game, accompanied by Peter’s guitar. On Friday, they learned how to warm-up like real gymnasts and do somersaults and handstands!

Good thing we have a break next week from classes…after so much activity, we all need a rest!


Lynn even helped out volunteer Peter with his handstand!

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