La Primaria Xcaret
~ By Lucy
This is La Primaria Xcaret. Located right outside of the tourist destination Playa del Carmen in a small town called Villas del Sol, it is an elementary school attended by roughly 800 children who live in the nearby neighborhoods. With only 12 classrooms, a dome, 2 offices, 2 cafeterias, and a multifunctional room, the first question that comes to mind is, “How?”
The building itself is used between two independently operating schools. From 7:30am to 12:00pm Monday through Friday, about 400 students in grades 1 through 6 fill each of the classrooms and are taught by 12 teachers. Come 1:00pm, an entirely different group of about 400 students file into the classrooms and are taught by a nearly entirely different group of teachers. Their classes last until 5:30 in the evening. The two schools are overseen by two different directors and sub-directors, and each have different school uniforms.
Morning classes have recess beginning at 9:30 in the morning for grades 1-3, and at 10:00 for grades 4-6. Each last half an hour, during which students buy lunch (and more often than not, sweets) and play in the courtyard and dome. Afternoon classes have recess from 4:00pm-4:30pm, but also allow a little extra time for the younger students to get their lunches first at the cafeteria.
Each school performs a ceremony called Homenaje on a weekly basis, which is a tribute to the state Quintana Roo and to Mexico as a country. These ceremonies include students singing the state anthem and giving short speeches, as well as presenting the national flag.
The rest of the schools in the Villas del Sol area follow this format, as well- each school building is home to two different schools that operate independently of each other. The fact that each school provides education for roughly 400 students is yet another reminder of how much of an impact teaching here will have.