My Little Red House Bilingual School is a growing organization with humble origins: Carol Penman, a mother of three had always wanted to give her children and others in Ocotepeque the chance to grow up speaking English and French.
Knowing how important the English language can be to Hondurans, Carol acted upon her desire. In 1998 Carol started 'My Little Red House Bilingual School' with the help of her mother, experienced teacher Alba Gloria Penman.
Public Education in Honduras The Honduran public education system is limited by underfunded,overcrowded schools. The World Bank reports average student to teacher ratios of 33:1, but actual rates are frequently much higher.
Only 25% of Hondurans have education beyond 6th grade, which is the last year of compulsory education. Moreover, in recent years, public school teachers have been on strike for more than half the school year.
What started off as a kindergarten with a dozen students has now become a full bilingual kindergarten, elementary and secondary school educating over 80 students from pre-kindergarten up to 11th grade. Since its founding, the school has expanded to occupy two buildings and the staff are hoping to expand yet again in the near future as soon as they gather the resources. Thanks to contributions, we have been able to to keep our tuition extremely low. We also continue to offer scholarships to a large portion of our students, extending the benefits of a bilingual education to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend such a school. My Little Red House Bilingual School is a unique gift in Ocotepeque, giving children the chance for a better future by learning English. More recently, the school has expanded to include a French program to further the education of its students.
My Little Red House Bilingual School Education Model
At My Little Red House, school days are broken into 6 hours and we provide small classes of 2-10 students offering focused assistance by teachers. We offer a model of high-quality education in English and Spanish. It is a locally-founded bilingual school in a small town. Honduran NGOs are frequently founded by outsiders, which may affect their feasibility. The school has no religious affiliation.
We provide scholarships to students, thereby making a life-changing education accessible to students from all social backgrounds. My Little Red House Bilingual School commits to funding scholarships even if students do not have a sponsor. However, the school actively seeks sponsors to fulfill its obligations. Sponsors are usually individuals or groups from North America and Europe who discover the school after visiting or volunteering in Ocotepeque, Honduras and wish to contribute to its success.
Our unique volunteer program helps us to attract native English-speaking volunteers who deliver high-level English skills. Our long-term volunteer teachers commit to a minimum of six-months to one year which helps to avoid the "revolving door" effect that some schools experience. However, the school does offer short-term volunteer opportunities to schools, universities, individuals, or other organized groups. Short-term volunteers help fulfill supplemental but important needs that arise from time to time.
The school also attracts Honduran staff members who offer high quality Spanish Education. The local community strongly supports the school by sending increasing numbers of students here, thus helping to continue our long-term success.
Our Vision: We know that English is becoming increasingly important in Honduras and is the key to a successful career. We want to help create a prosperous and educated community with children who are able to speak a second langauge fluently. We are committed to enstilling the lasting appreiciation of the importance of education and a love of learning in a country where education is not required beyond the sixth grade.
Our Mission: My Little Red House Bilingual School strives to provide a high-quality bilingual education for all children of Ocotepeque, regardless of social class, religion, gender, or race.
When "My Little Red House" first opened its doors, it offered classes in kindergarten with a dozen students and operated out of the Penman family home. As time progressed, a new grade was added each year and the school moved to several locations within Ocotepeque to accommodate the growing number of students.
__My Little Red House Bilingual School remains standing
today thanks to the tremendous support of the parents who entrusted us
with the education of their children when we were just a project, along
with the many people who have donated their time and money to help
give our students the opportunity to learn English.
_Special thanks to Alba Gloria Penman, Ana Penman, and Jenny Penman for their dedication and contributions throughout the years.
Today and the Future
Today, My Little Red House Bilingual School is a thriving institution and well respected within the community of Ocotepeque. The school educates approximately 100 students and will add an additional grade to its curriculum this year. In order to expand for the future, the school continues to need help of volunteers, donations and financial funding. If you would like to contribute towards the future success of our school, please contact us directly at: littleredbilingualschool @gmail.com