Our School Update: La Casita de Los Ninos

Since the last time we posted about the school, we have made INCREDIBLE progress!!!!  I’m so excited to be able to share such great news with you.  To be honest, after we did that fundraiser in December, I was nervous.  For one, we were starting from complete scratch. We literally had nothing more than an idea to start an alternative school (Montessori) in Huanchaco where we would offer scholarships to children who normally would not be able to afford to go to school.  I hadn’t expected such an outpouring of generosity from so many of you,  and the responsibility to spend your money well–and with results– was pressing upon me. Fortunately, however, with a little luck and a LOT of hard work, we made magic happen.  I think you will all be quite happy with what we’ve managed so far.

Firstly, we found a full-time Montessori certified and experienced teacher!!

Meet Senora Marbaker…..


She has been very instrumental in helping us create an organized and enticing space for the children to learn, as well as in teaching us more about the methods and materials used in the Montessori style of education.  I was fortunate enough to have attended a Montessori preschool when I was a child, and I can personally attest that the Montessori school system sparked within me a deep love of learning, a willingness to experiment, and, ultimately, a confidence in my ability to create my own sui generis success in life.

Whooopeeee! I’m very excited that we’re bringing Montessori to Huanchaco!

Second, we found a clean and spacious classroom, and the best part is that it is 100% FREE!!!!!

Let’s say that again because it feels so good….

 IT’S  100% FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The town library has a biblioteca infantil (children’s library) that they have been kind enough to let us use as a classroom during the week. An added advantage is that the library is centrally located in Huanchaco, which will encourage community participation.

Aren’t they the cutest?!  

Our classroom came equipped with little tables, tiny chairs, wooden bookshelves filled with many books, and this colorful but somewhat cryptic mural.  Apparently, the queen lady on the left is the Virgen de Los Ninos, and her job is to protect the children of Huanchaco from I’m guessing the scary looking people on the right.

As of right now, we have enough to get started, so we’ve gone ahead and opened our school….OFFICIALLY!!!

In fact, we’re about to become entirely legit. So, the backstory is this: We were having classes at Rossanna’s house, but we were stymied by our lack of a safe, intact, indoor space and the fact that we’d have to spend all of our donation money (and then some) on constructing that space.  That didn’t sit well with us since our objective is to offer becas (scholarships) to the underprivileged children of Huanchaco, and if we spent all of our money on the infrastructure, we’d have no money left for our actual project.  So, to solve that problem, Kelly (Catalina’s mom) went and spoke with the Municipalidad de Huanchaco, and the Alcalade (the mayor) offered us the library! Hooray!!


We need to write a full-length proposal to gain full governmental approval.  

At least these energetic and beaming beauties are learning and having fun in the interim.

Tonight, I’m meeting with Kelly at Mamachas, and we will be figuring out how many children–specifically boys, since we have eight girls already–that we can sponsor with the funds we have saved.  Just so you know, we have approximately $1100 so far that we’ve earned via our Paypal donations, and we’ve managed to save all of it for becas!!!

In my next update, I will have exact numbers detailing:  1) our expenses, 2) how much money is needed to sponsor one child per year, 3) how much money we need to raise to sponsor X amount of children (we’re hoping to get our classroom up to at least 15 kids by the end of this year), and 4) how much money we need to raise to buy our Montessori (or ersatz) supplies for the year.

This little girl was impossibly cute but, alas, doggedly shy. Every time I was about to snap a shot, she had this uncanny ability to whip around and march-off in the opposite direction

I will also let you know how our official government approval goes as we wade through the bureaucratic process.

Lastly, school has only been in session for 2 weeks, but the children are already bonding with one another, Senora Marbaker, and even Mongo.

Catalina, the child who was called a "malcriada" at her former school, giving Mongo tender pets

Thank you everyone for your continued support in La Casita de Los Ninos.  We couldn’t have come this far without you! 

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  1. AWE SOME!!!!! I am SO proud of you!

  2. Hooray!!! I am SO Proud of you too! way to go! i am going to put Izzy in a montessori school now. Can wait to find out what happens with the government stuff.. <3!

  3. Mariana Rendon says:

    Beautiful!! Do you think we could skype with the kids? I have got 19 five year olds who would love to. Let me know and congratulations!

  4. Betsy Alva says:

    That is amazing Stevie! Thank you !!!

  5. Emily Tarpley says:

    you inspire me. so thankful this world has in it people like you

  6. Andrea Greever says:

    wow great job you guys!!

  7. Awesome!

  8. Wow!

  9. Bobbie Kay Buttram says:

    Double Wow!! Good Luck!

  10. Sarah Leith Bahn says:

    Nothing short of AMAZING!

  11. Stevie,
    What can one say that has not already been expressed?
    Keep doing what you are doing (as if you have a choice)
    This is your contribution to the planet and humanity. Very admirable
    No wonder we all love you so much!!
    Much love,

  12. Jackie Kittrell says:

    Stevie and Tree, this is amazing and marvelous. I will do what I can to support this effort!!!!

  13. Lisa Riblet Jacobi says:

    Enjoyed today’s blog post that arrived in my inbox.

  14. Molly Petersen Leith says:

    SO insanely inspiring. If I can help with art lessons, curriculum or anything…I’m HERE!!!!!!

  15. Sounds so good. I’m stoked that it is coming together more easily and with more support than was expected.

  16. that’s so incredible. it goes to show you the acts of individuals CAN change the world. The children look so happy and relaxed, and I’m sure their families are so grateful that they can have this opportunity.

    Good work!

  17. Congratulations! That is such amazing news…just goes to show that one (or a few!) person CAN change the world…or at the least the life of a child. Great job!

  18. Josie Balzano says:

    Stevie and Tree,

    This is so amazing. I’m so proud of you and will definitely help out. Stevie, my Mom is in Lima now. My grandmother is I’ll. I will tell her where you are. I love you soooooo much.

    • Hey Josie. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. I hope she gets better soon. How long will your mom be in Lima? Is she doing okay? Please give her my love, and I of course love you so much too!!

  19. Hi Stevie,
    Thank you so much for your update. It’s wonderful to see photo’s of all these beautiful kids having a great time!
    As you of course know, books should be the most important thing in a child life and to have your school in a library is the most stunning coincidence. I will be happy to keep supporting you and look forward to your updates.
    Give my love to Kelly and a big kiss for Catalina

    • Hi Monique. Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to hear from you and know we have your ongoing support! We’re making progress on becoming a real NGO…..update coming!!!!

  20. Brother William says:

    I just happened upon your website. Wow, what you’re doing is so cool!Great concept, How is it being accepted by the government there? I am a missionary from Minneapolis. I met my wife in Lima, Peru
    while on missions trip in 2009. I spend 4 months in Peru each year.I am a “freelance missionary” (not sponsored by any organization) self supported. I run a small construction company in MN 8 mo., and minister 4 mo. in Peru I am now looking to become a permanent Expat to Peru, probably in 2014. I am curious as to the progress of your charter school in Peru- How’s it going?
    I am very familiar to the Peruvian process’s involved in getting anything done with government there.

  21. Stephanie says:

    hi! I just happened upon your website too! I am an expat living in Lima – in Lurin, outside of Lima. Anyways, since my husband is an avid surfer, I have heard of Huanchaco. I am also an educator and art therapist. I have been discussing with my hubby about opening a school here in Peru, but have no idea HOW to start. I am so inspired by your endeavor! I want to move there to help! We are also not sure WHERE to start because it is so cold and chilly here in Lurin, it is a bit of a deal breaker for us to live here long term. Anyways, I’m am just so inspired and feel like I have a little more direction in my Peruvian adventure today. Congratulations! You guys are amazing!

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