To give hospitalized boys and girls (5 to 10 years of age) a book that helps them develop
their cognitive abilities in a free and fun way
has been the main goal of teachers Beatriz García-Huidobro
and Alejandra Stevenson. Their book Tesoros
para guardar (Treasures to keep)
fills the gap that affected children who lost
their school education because of sickness and
With drawings by Paulina Veloso and the review
of psychologist Neva Milicic, the book is a project
from Chilean Cultural Heritage Corporation, which
follows in the same path the series about heritage
education started with El baúl de
mis tesoros (My chest of treasures),
distributed during the year 2000 in schools of
the Metropolitan Region and the city of Ancud,
in the Chiloé Island.
According to the information given by the Ministry
of Health, each year about 2,400 children between
the ages of 5 and 10 are hospitalized for
long periods of time; sometimes, even years.
spend hours on their own, with no company at all. It's
hard to teach to them: they get tired easily and
loose concentration. School books are based on
group activities, which is something you can not
do in hospitals", explains Beatriz García-Huidobro.
To develop abilities linked to the senses, thought
and synthesis, to stimulate reading and mathematical
abilities are some of the pedagogical goals of
this text. The activities included are simple,
close and recreational, and go along illustrations
that refer to values and heritage contents.
To paint the Tirana mask (a typical religious celebration from the North), read about Chilean stories and legends, reproduce a moai or a house on stilts, find the shortest road to the San Francisco Church through math or decide what of one's own belongings could be preserved are some of the activities included. There are social and ethical issues that are part of this book, which teaches about jobs, people, places, traditions and cultural roots, finding in heritage focus a motivation for children going through a hard time.
"Kids that are now motivated by the heritage issue will grow up to be adults concerned with its conservation", says Beatriz.
—How did this book come to be?
—It was chosen from several projects. We came to the conclusion that the best was one that would start from a close perspective, link it to affection, so the experiences would be more relevant in kids' lives. The natural origin is the faith we have in education and what can be achieved with it in children.
—Which are the text's goals?
—A lot; but the main one is to achieve a level of identification and valorization with our own History and the one of the community where we live and grow. These are elements that will later develop self-confidence and personal valuation. With today's globalization process it is more needed than ever identification with one's own roots, with those things, facts, places, traditions and costumes that give each of us a sense of belonging.