Escuela Caracol is a large reason of why I decided to move my family to San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala for three and half months.
This amazing school is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf Education emphasizes the education of the whole child: the heart, the hands, and the mind (or head). I am particularly attracted to the rhythmic nature of Waldorf education, the emphasis on natural and beautiful materials and spaces, and the insistence that children should play outside—a lot! For the first seven years, the child’s main job is to play and practice their imagination. That means there isn’t a lot of sitting at desks, no worksheets, and no TV or movies.
Escuela Caracol is taught in Spanish with some of the local Kaqchikel language. They have Mayan teachers working on their Waldorf training as well as teachers from elsewhere in Guatemala and the world. LIkewise, the students come both from the surrounding communities and from all around the world.
The buildings were all beautifully constructed of local wood and other materials. Like most Waldorf classrooms, the insides were also beautiful featuring natural materials and handmade furniture, playthings, and supplies. Because there were no walls, the children had fresh air and natural light (both proven to improve learning) ALL day, not just at “recess.” The gardens were lush and beautiful and the playground simple and designed to encourage free play.
Administrative and lunch building and playground behind.
Zella’s classroom from the inside and the outside.
Learn more about the school and see more photos at