Regardless of social status or geographical location, every child from any family deserves the right to have access to quality education. Therefore, we created a primary school at the reserve to serve underprivileged children raised in the countryside, where access to good schools is highly limited. In May of 2010, the La Hesperia Cloud Forest School opened its doors to nine children aged 3 to 5. In 2012, the project grew to provide education for over twenty students aged 3 to 7. We designed a Montessori-based curriculum with strong emphasis on teaching students the importance of their natural environment and sustainability.
Although the La Hesperia Cloud Forest School had to close in February 2014 due to changes in the country’s educational laws, its legacy carries on. Not long after the school first opened, we discovered parents in similar situations around Ecuador with the same goals for children living in their local rural communities. Together, we created a network, the Rural Alternative Education Network (RED ERA), to share information and develop good quality education in rural areas. Within this network, the curricula established were very similar to that of the La Hesperia School with a strong focus on educating students about the significance of protecting the forests of Ecuador and living sustainably.