“The other education began in the hearts and thoughts of our communities.”
(Zapatista education promoter)
For almost two decades, Schools for Chiapas has been helping indigenous Zapatista communities to construct their autonomy, principally through supporting a range of education programs, and more specifically through providing materials for the construction of schools. Our aim has been to provide some of the foundations necessary for these communities to build schools where their children can learn about the richness of the culture and history of their Mayan heritage.
While we were in the process of redesigning our website, we thought we would be even more ambitious. As a central element of autonomous Zapatista education is taking the school out of the classroom, we thought that we would take the school out of Chiapas, and give schools all over the world the chance to be schools for Chiapas too.
To this end, we are in the process of collecting, devising, and sharing an expanding series of lesson plans in order to provide educators and students with opportunities to teach and learn about Chiapas. These lessons are aimed at the K-12 range but can be adapted to the relevant educational context. They cover a variety of subjects, including, among others, ELL, ESL, Spanish, math, history, social sciences, and arts.
We invite you to explore the history and culture of the ancient Mayan peoples and their mathematical prowess. Encourage your students to reflect on their habits and environment and how these relate to the daily life of people in Chiapas. Discover why the Zapatistas cover their faces, and learn about their influence on contemporary global protest movements. Read about the role of women in the Zapatista movement, and the inspiring life of Ramona in Spanish. All of this while developing the literacy and numeracy skills of your students, as well as developing their social awareness.
These are just a few of the areas that we offer you at the moment, as in true Zapatista spirit, we see this very much as a collaborative work in progress. We invite you to give us your feedback and ideas and contribute your own lesson plans, so that this can become the ever-growing resource we envisage it as. We provide a lesson plan template as a guide, and a feedback sheet for these purposes.
We hope that this resource will contribute in some small way to making another world possible, a world where, in the words of the Zapatistas, many worlds fit.