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Take ten teachers and turn them into school owners. Add one shared dream of high quality education. Mix with a whole lot of passion, dedication and elbow grease. What do you get by combining those elements? Maple Bear Santa Fe in Mexico City, Mexico.
It all started with one teacher’s frustration.
Before taking on the role of principal of Maple Bear Santa Fe, Martha Gonzalez taught high school. Over the years, she began noticing that many of her students had deeply problematic approaches to learning.
“I recognized that it was due primarily to a lack in the fundamental ability to think critically and to problem-solve,” says Gonzalez. “So I began to research the age at which children start developing their processing and problem-solving skills. Unsurprisingly, all my research pointed to early childhood.”
Enter the Maple Bear bilingual immersion curriculum which begins in early childhood. The Canadian methodology—with its emphasis on solving versus memorizing and learning through play—appealed to Martha right away. The rest, as they say, is history.
Gonzalez gathered a group of like-minded educator friends and colleagues and together they pooled their savings to open Maple Bear Santa Fe in 2011. Starting with only kindergarten, they soon opened an elementary school two years later as demand from parents for continuity for their children’s education grew.
All of the school owners still work their day jobs, Martha notes proudly. It’s hard work, but what keeps Martha and the other school owners going is the sense of having created a truly special place, especially when she receives parent feedback like this:
“I would recommend Maple Bear to other parents because they make happy kids who feel secure and in a safe place where someone is listening to them so they can grow with support.”