Students from Salar de Atacama, Quillagua, María Elena and Pintados Build Knowledge Through Crea Más Program
Advice and training on how to best use digital platforms and audiovisual content to support teaching are some of the tools being implemented by the Crea Más Program in partnership with SQM, aiming to adapt the initiative to new social distancing measures and continue to deliver quality education. Meanwhile, the mining company has also joined forces with the Choshuenco Foundation and its childhood education program “Aprendo Contigo” (“Learning with You”) to create a robust learning community of 19 schools in Tocopilla and María Elena.
The objective of the partnership between SQM and the Crea+ Foundation is to strengthen education in rural and multigrade schools in the districts of San Pedro de Atacama, La Colonia Agrícola de Pintados, Quillagua and María Elena. Here, they provide technical-teaching support for content in the subjects of math and language. As a result, educators receive ongoing training to enhance their teaching.
This year, in response to the public health emergency, the program has been adapted to distance learning methodologies using platforms that enable students and teachers to interact and continue the academic year.
Pamela Ibarra, president of the Parent Association at E-26 School in San Pedro de Atacama, highlighted: “The program addresses a relevant need for these communities, especially those that are more inland and have less connectivity. These schools have few children and are mostly multigrade schools, which makes it hard to keep everyone up to speed, but the program has managed to do this through years of intervention.”
Environment and Community Senior Vice President of SQM Salar, Alejandro Bucher, specified that the program, “has accompanied teachers and benefited hundreds of boys and girls as well as educators in the communities around Salar de Atacama for more than a decade. Today, we have adapted to the complex current situation because of COVID-19, with the main goal of continuing to reinforce tools to improve educator professional development and help continue to strengthen student knowledge and provide quality education.”
“Aprendo Contigo” Program
SQM has been collaborating with this program for three and a half months, providing educational material and different learning activities each week so that young children attending 19 schools in the districts of Tocopilla and María Elena, ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years, can continue learning from home with their parents’ help. In all, the program is providing coverage for 1,600 kids and their families.
Pablo Pisani, Director of Communications, Sustainability and Public Affairs at SQM, explained: “Since the onset of this public health emergency, we developed a robust community action plan aimed at minimizing the risks of spreading COVID-19 and working to ensure the social wellbeing of residents in towns near our operations. Since one of the program’s four action areas is Education and Healthy Living, we were convinced of the importance of joining this initiative, which will positively impact the learning process for boys and girls by contributing to parental stability and guaranteeing continued education for their children.”
Each week, the families are given a set of 10 learning exercises to do, two each day, developed by the teaching teams at these educational centers. They are divided by age range and complemented by digital records sent via WhatsApp by the leaders of each Family Center to give parents and adults advice and recommendations on how best to approach this time of quarantine with kids at home.