The value of strengthening education
The Roberto Rocca After School Program is a Tecpetrol initiative designed to strengthen the knowledge base of school-aged children through classes combining play, artistic and creative resources.
A preliminary diagnosis made it possible to identify the issues making learning processes difficult for schoolchildren in the communities where Tecpetrol operates in Colombia. This was the first step in the development of the Roberto Rocca After School Program in the municipality of Puerto Gaitán, in Meta, which was finally launched in April. The program took the form of schooling reinforcement days held in the Puerto Triunfo community, benefitting 169 children, and in the Cuernavaca neighborhood, for 50 children. Led and organized by five teachers from the After School program, the classes were held outside school hours, in the afternoon, three days a week in each community.
The program focuses on combining play with artistic and creative resources to take a different approach to learning. The sessions are aimed at consolidating the knowledge imparted at school in math and arithmetic, as well as in communication skills such as reading and writing. AfterSchool is developed in line with national institutional educational programs and dovetails with relevant activities for the community as a whole, such as Family Day and Children's Day, including the active involvement of children’s parents.
September 30 was when the School for Parents was held, an event held for some 90 parents of program beneficiaries who received tools to strengthen relationships with their children and understand how best to help them with their education processes. Live music combined with audiovisual stimulation encourages reflection on the importance of caring for and listening to their children, so as to accompany them in the development of their skills and learning.
"Children really learn things with this program: we realize in which areas or subjects they need support, as some parents have neither the time nor the knowledge to figure out what their children really need," explained Alejandra Daza, the mother of a student from Cuernavaca.
Parents, children and meetings, closer bonds and collective processes. After School in Colombia is pushing for education to be seen as a process involving everyone’s participation, from families to the institutions, creating novel scenarios for dialogue and joint work. In this case, the Rubiales educational institution in Puerto Triunfo worked together with the After School team and the Tecpetrol Community Relations group to streamline activities aimed at fostering participatory pedagogical processes as part of an attempt to provide local children with the skills and abilities they need.
The program was created to support education and accompany families on the learning journey, as it has accrued in-depth knowledge of who needs it the most. According to Lineth Pedrozo, CORE Sr. Supervisor, "The After School program offers children from rural communities opportunities that they would not otherwise have. It opens their minds to new knowledge and reinforces content that strengthens their skills for life."