For 25 years, ANADES has been running the child development center Alfonso Acevedo to provide education and integral care to the children of low-income families in the urban community of San Ramon, Mejicanos. Each year, roughly 100 children are enrolled in 4 different classrooms and are 18 months to 6 years old. The center is open from Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm, with a daily schedule of academic programming, recreation, and a nutritional breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. The center is able to provide these services through the monthly tuition paid by families, Programa Velasco, and through selling coffee from ANADES' organic.
The educational program is designed to be participative so that the children develop their autonomy and are recognized as the principle protagonists in the learning process. It is based on a daily routine of classroom assembly, learning corners, which include playing house, building block construction, and molding with clay among others, speech exercises, motor skill development, storybook reading, and crafts. The activities chosen within each of these areas are specific to the age group of the children in the classroom and are developed around certain themes, like family, animals, transportation, and more.
They are also rooted in the fundamental principles of ANADES, which are human rights, gender equality, and the care for the environment.
Several months into the year, the oldest children begin the process of learning how to read and write so that they are prepared to enter first grade upon graduating from the child development center. This process is based on the Montessori model, which allows each child to advance at his or her own pace.
Programa Velasco supports the center by developing educational materials and facilitating several field trips to complement the themes being covered in class.
The center's educational approach is designed to meet the integral needs of each child so as to optimize his or her mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual development. To support their physical health, the center provides nutritional meals based on a balanced diet, two medical check-ups a year, and the re-enforcement of hygienic habits, like washing hands and brushing teeth. Programa Velasco supports this effort by partially subsidizing the scholarship student's medical check-ups.
Programa Velasco nurtures the children's emotional health by providing the funding for a full-time psycholgist who monitors the children in the classroom to detect behavioral issues or signs of abuse, provides individualized counseling to children and families, and refers children to other institutions for specialized attention if necessary. In addition, we fund yoga classes for several months for the oldest children so that they learn to control their corporal movements that help relieve both physical and emotional stress.
The center teaches values, such as respect for others, responsibility, inclusion, and more. Each month is dedicated to a different value with the hope that by cultivating these values at a young age, the children will construct a healthier society.