Río Mashpi School is a rural public institution located in the northwest of Quito, inside the “Biosphere Reserve of Chocó Andino of Pichincha”. Like the majority of rural schools in Ecuador, Río Mashpi school does not have appropriate educational facilities, nor pedagogical tools that support children’ learning processes. Appropriate educational facilities, together with motivated and well-trained teachers are essential conditions that build up on relevant knowledge and skills for their lives of students and for the local socio-environmental challenges.
Through the support provided by Pambiliño Forest School, this transformative educational process begun in 2017. After these years of collaborative work between the forest school and Río Mashpi school, it has become clear that, in order to harmonize both educational spaces, old “cage” like classrooms and flat cement areas, must be transformed into more appropriate for learning and child friendly playgrounds and facilities. A radical transformation of Río Mashpi school must take place in terms of educational facilities that today look more like cages, into non-directive educational facilities, provided with appropriate materials that facilitate self-learning through playing and appropriate guidance. Current teachers of Río Mashpi school will also be trained in non-directive methodologies, through the use of pedagogical tools that will help students develop motivation for learning, self-exploration and have access to a locally relevant education.
The final result will show a renovated public school, where the main pillars will be the strengthening of the whole community, the promotion of democratic values for the pacific solution of conflicts, learning through active and experiential methodologies, and the culture of respect for all forms of life. This school will be a model of rural public education; which could escalate to the rest of the country. These schools will give birth to a new culture of biodiversity’ guardians, who promote a culture of peace that values, foremost, the essential elements for the sutainability of life on earth.