Árbol de los Niños in San Pancho, just ten minutes from Sayulita, offers a high-quality, bilingual education to students in Kindergarten through Lower-Elementary levels. Founded on the principles of Montessori, Árbol de los Niños incorporates “human values”, such as kindness, honesty, and inner-reflection, to prepare and guide the future generation. The school’s mission is to provide an interesting and enabling environment for children to create a solid foundation of knowledge and self-worth that will guide them through their future.
Audrey, founder and director, is inspired by Italian scientist Maria Montessori’s vision of education, that teaches morals and emotional intelligence, in addition to high academics. The small school offers personalized education to a group of combined ages of two years to seven, where the younger kids learn from elders, and the older kids model behaviors in a leadership capacity. Through practical life skills and sensorial, hands-on activities, children learn mathematics, language, science, and cultural studies in a deeper, more advanced way.
“Children learn best when their surroundings support their individual, natural desire to learn,” says Audrey, “the Montessori school is very different than traditional school where teachers teach to the average child; some students’ potential can be held back, while others fall behind.” Audrey explains that teachers introduce materials to individuals or small groups of kids- those who are developmentally ready to learn a material or subject. Then, the children are free to play and discover the material as many times as they like, with the ultimate aspiration being their personal mastery of ideas and concepts behind each material. “Basically we tailor each child's education to their individual level and interest, looking for ways to spark their interest.”
El Arbol’s programs include English, Spanish, and French lessons, dances from around the world, food preparation, yoga and meditation practices, creative arts projects, and learning about nature and the environment through regular field trips and gardening projects. Operating with the understanding that the first seven years of life are the most important time, the school’s primary goal is to foster and enhance each child’s natural sense of joy, to help them find their place in this world. “We want kids to feel like education is not a chore, but a joyous exploration of life’s mysteries; we want kids to learn to love learning!”
El Árbol started this previous year when Audrey, a mother of two, recognized the need for a better quality education system in the area. She started the school with her own children in mind, but she admits that the project is much bigger than her family. “This project is about community. It's about bringing the community together to support, love, and educate the future generation. The kids are an opportunity to reset society, and the education that we give the children will shape our future.” Originally from Colorado, Audrey has a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University, and has lived in diverse places all around the world. She has lived in the Nayarit area for over ten years, and is also the founder of Ai Real Estate + Relocation.
If Árbol de los Niños sounds like the right fit for your child, or to learn more information about the school and its programs, please visit their Sayulita Life Webpage, the school’s personal website, or contact Audrey for a tour, at 322-303-1529. School starts for the current year on September 9th, 2019.
Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri