It’s a pleasure to introduce myself. Hola, I am Maria Perez Gali and I would love to tell you a little bit about me and how Círculo de Amigos came to be.
I began with this early childhood program, putting my heart and soul into it, by preparing a challenging and innovative curriculum that facilitates the wings to curiosity so that children can unfold in a healthy and unique outdoor classroom, by incorporating ideas from my amazing childhood…
“Being an educator is a wonderful experience, but it is also a daily challenge. Luckily, we can take the good things that we learn from these challenges and turn it into great opportunities.”
At Círculo de Amigos, we make sure that when our students leave our school they have molded into individuals that love to learn, have a passionate curiosity, and are persistent in pursuing their dreams.
I was born and raised in Mexico and I have been living in this beautiful state of Minnesota for almost 20 years. I graduated with a bachelor in Education and a major in Social science.
“I had the great fortune of growing up in a place that was excellent for my development in my childhood years. To this day, I remember all the games we used to play since for the most part we were the inventors, creators, designers and made the rules for playing them.”
Nearly all our activities consisted of using natural materials such as rocks, sticks, mud, sand, water, trees, as well as using whatever we didn’t need from our homes, we were already aware about the concept of reusing and recycling.
By having these experiences in our childhood games and adventures, I was able to naturally learn many things while having fun, such as cause and effect, scientific reasoning, classification, patterns, and literacy skills amongst other things.
"Being in an environment that was natural and making good use of our resources by recycling made me value, love, respect and make the most out of things and developed socially healthy skills."
These positive skills that I learned and manifested are the same things that we are reinforcing in our program. At CACCC, we have organized an environment that is as natural as possible including having used recycled materials for our academic activities with the idea to promote awareness to our children of our real world, awaken their imagination, stimulate their skills, cognition, sensory, musical abilities, and encourage them to engage in exercise in order to prevent obesity.
Childhood connections with nature are decreasing from generation to generation as emphasis on book-learning, media entertainment, and increased programmed time are becoming more prevalent.
This is creating a disconnection between children and nature. This disconnection is called “Nature-Deficit Disorder.”
This disorder has been called the "human costs of alienation from nature" and includes a diminished use of senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness.
As a part of this understanding, it is our commitment to ensure that our kids learn from nature by going outdoors every day that the weather allows us to because it’s a fundamental aspect in creating a connection between children and nature.
"In our Spanish immersion program children are more likely to be successful in a multicultural society."
We are constantly incorporating many green concepts to the program, with environmentally friendly approaches such as Renewal energy and Non-Toxic cleaning products, reuse, recycling with practices in our everyday activities at the center.
The environment has comfortable surroundings engaging children of different ages, with close consideration given to health and safety issues.
as well as inclusiveness towards all families and cultures. To this end, we stress the values of hospitality, resilience, reciprocity, trust, civility, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, respect, courage and love. We believe children need a value-based education that embraces diversity to strengthen them as human beings since these are the means through which they will reach harmony, balance and happiness in life.