On arriving in Peru in 2021 and looking for a way of life, we decided to create a place of
freedom , where the child is able to freely develop their own qualities, We propose active
methods, allowing for the children’s initiative in deciding what to do and what to learn
whenever they wish.
The idea for Sonqollay arose from observing the Peruvian education system and its
deficiencies. We noted that the Public Primary Education in Tarapoto is based on very old
fashion and outdated concepts with very little cognitive stimuli. There is a use of files, text
books, religious indoctrination, as well as deficient individual attention to pupils, (use of
uniforms, regimented haircuts etc.). Education in the private sector is similar and generally
goes along the same deficient lines; the only difference being the increase in the financial
outlay for families. Therefore, only families that are economically capable are able to opt for a
somewhat better attention. This is the current situation of primary education in Tarapoto.
Up to now Escuelita Sonqollay has been running extra-officially as a meeting place in order to
stimulate infants and develop creativity as well as reading and writing skills for older kids.
Our aim to offer the possibility of this type of education to local families that would otherwise
not be able to access private education due to the high cost in Peru, and also motivate learning
in children who are at risk of exclusion and failure and eventually dropping out of school.
To deal with this, we aspire to improve the educational situation in the region, being able to
offer an education that currently only is accessed to through private education, to a wider
audience and thus offering greater possibilities for the future to the children of
We look to reach this ideal in magical protected surroundings where the children have the
resources and tools to freely explore. Our educational model is no conventional and due to this
we have needed to embark on this project with the aim of inscribing our little school within
the education system, thus making sure that the children are included in the education
system and providing the school with a secure and suitable infrastructure.
Main features and goals of the crowdfunding campaign
Ecuelita Sonqollay is an innovative Project in this area of Peru, given that the existing educative
entities concentrate more on imparting knowledge with traditional teaching methods.
The school is staffed by education professionals with experience and an extended curriculum
working in different countries, (Spain, Germany, Chile and Peru). The teaching method is based
on respect for childhood and the different stages of learning skills using methodology such as
Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. Our school is located in natural surroundings that
encourage respect and love for nature. We receive visits from local wild life such as monkeys,
birdlife, butterflies etc.
The project aims to provide children with environment for learning freely, and so actively
stimulate their own development. Based on our pedagogic curricula, the children are guided
through the learning process within the 0-3 year old stage as well as reinforcing the traditional
education with extra-school activities.
The main aims that motivate us are:
Supply an integral development programmed for children, thus insuring they are
independent, resilient, creative and sure of themselves.
Provide access to this type of education to families that are socially and economically
no so well off.
Offer a customized education.
Create a respectful environment for self-learning.
Promote learning for children that are at risk of school failure.
Encourage learning within nature.
Why this is important
The traditional Peruvian education is divided into the public state education system and the
private ones, the later being difficult for large family units to access. In our opinion, the
standard of public education is currently outdated. We reckon that educative spaces should
be meeting places for the sharing of knowledge where the actions and thoughts of children are
respected. The reality of the environment is that low income families are based on daily
earnings (agriculture and street vending), where education takes second place and is difficult
to continue. Added to this, is an outdated school methodology. The school dropout rate and
educational backwardness in the San Martin region is the highest in the country. This situation
has motivated us to create a pioneering space in an area where children can explore their own
capabilities and are guided in the development of that which is demanded by the education
system. The education offered is based on respect for childhood and provides the tools for the
motivation the pupils as well as their families.
Sonqollay is a kindergarten (for 0-3 year olds) and also a infant classroom for extra-school
activities where the discovery of the world of reading and writing is used as a fundamental
basic for the link to all learning skills, and where we have created a space for exploration and
experimentation. Given that low income and underprivileged families for this kind of space
is normally difficult for families to access, we wish to facilitate the possibility for them.
Currently we are working with and attending to 15 children, 3 of which come from vulnerable
underprivileged low income families and therefore their fees are 70% less. With this campaign
we aspire to offer this possibility of reduced fees to a total of 6 pupils and also maintain the
fees for the rest of the children to a price that is less than that of private education.
Team and experience
My personal story begins in my own family whose extended members are in the main
dedicated to teaching. A carefree childhood and within a community environment, I was
motivated to study infant education. Exploring other horizons, I decided to work for a time in
Germany in order to gain experience in kindergartens ( Girasoles Kindergarten and Joan Miró
infant school). After migrating to South America and observing and contributing to the school
system, the main idea was to create the Sonqollay Project.
Sonqollay was founded by two friends with many points in common in their outlook on
education. The main promoter is myself, Itziar Burgess; I am infant school teacher with work
experience in various countries and also a local yoga teacher, Paolo Suarez, certified in India.
We have consulted the advice of several pedagogical counselors within our family, (Manolo,
Rakel, Angel and Xabi) and primary teachers (Cristina and Eneko) and a social worker (Maku)
all of whom have extensive experience.
The Project has been running since the beginning of 2022. We have rented and set up a space
which has an outdoor area in the city of Tarapoto in the region of San Martin, Peru. The city is
surrounded by tropical rainforest, abundant and varied flora and fauna. Due to the tropical
climate, outdoor education is possible all year around.