Mid-August, Vueladentro launches its new early-childhood education program in Bogotá. Through arts, crafts, music, and cooking, founder Lina Rojas hopes to help kids discover new affinities and use them to learn.
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education, developed by a group of parents in an Italian village after World War II and who believed that local children needed a new way of learning, Rojas wants children to better express themselves and find new ways to connect with materials beyond traditional lessons. A fundamental concept of the approach is that children are able to learn best when driven by their own interests.
The Reggio methodology has taken off around the world, and the Vueladentro team will be composed of artists, art therapists, a musician, and a nutritionist. Rojas had been looking for a daycare in the city for her two-year-old daughter that fit the Reggio mold. But most programs she found were designed for kids seven or older. “I thought I had to do something about it,” said Rojas. “Because a seven-year-old child already has big emotional baggage, like fears or bad memories. But if you start to validate the emotions in early childhood, your child will probably be emotionally smarter and a more secure teenager.”
The teachers are not there to give answers. Instead, as the name Vueladentro reflects — meaning “Fly Inside” — the program’s aim is to let the kids develop freely in a creative environment. Before beginning any activities, the team wants to know about each child’s personality. For example, the parents have to ll in a personal questionaire about their kid. “Once we know the need of the group we can adapt the program,” said Rojas.
Carolina Arias and Juana Montoya are also co-founders of Vueladentro. Arias is an artist and passionate art historian. As a mother of two kids she discovered that painting, writing, sculpting, and music are major contributors in the process of becoming a conscious and a well-rounded person. Montoya has eight years of experience as an art therapist and art teacher for children. She is convinced that non-verbal languages are fundamental in solving conflicts.
August 19 is scheduled to be the first official day of the Vueladentro program, and each week will approach different projects, with themes including “Universe,” “Nature,” “Bogotá,” and “Myself.”
It is accessible to every child between three and 10 years old. Kids will not be divided by ages as they are in a more classic program. Most of the activities are created for groups, and parents are even welcome to join.
While Vueladentro’s learning approach is not typical in Colombia, Rojas wants “kids to have fun and learn to know themselves so they can spread their wings.”