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May 19, 2011

Students plant the future at Horizon Academy

The first day of class at Horizon Academy began with sixty five students on September seventh, 2009. News Five was at the launch and returned two years later to see the progress of the private primary school. We found that its enrollment has grown and the approach to learning goes beyond books and the chalkboard. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Horizon Academy was launched in 2009 at mile three on the Northern Highway.  The principal says that in addition to the traditional academic experience, it also offers holistic learning.

Diane Maheia

Diane Maheia, Principal, Horizon Academy

“Horizon Academy is two years old going onto our third academic year—one of the newest schools in Belize, possibly the most progressive of the new schools, because of our belief and our determined efforts to provide a fully holistic and inclusive educational experience for students.  In addition to that, we offer different extra courses. We do organic gardening twice a week to all our students from kinder to standard six. Our physical education program is twice a week—students do theory as well as practical. WE have art music and Spanish that all students do as well. And in addition to all of those things, we also have an extensive expressive arts and sports program which allows students to develop their individual talents and skills in areas that they choose. They can do swimming, basketball, football, art, arts and crafts, dance, cooking, music, recorder, guitar keyboard, chess—a wide variety of things that they can do. We also work very hard on our character development program. We believe in a positive approach to discipline and that is one of the things that rounds out the holistic education experience.”

Victoria Burgos

There are many creative differences in the methods at the school. Today progressive was visible in the infant division class where the students were learning on laptops.  Students were in the school garden packaging the products of their experience at Horizon.

Victoria Burgos, Gardening/Social Studies Teacher, Horizon Academy

“The kids are at the back right now doing some packaging of herbs—tarragon and basil—and we not only have herbs in our garden, but this is a part of our holistic development here at Horizon Academy. So the kids come out here and they have a chance to learn outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom. So they will come out and do the actual physical work in the garden. We have fruits, we have vegetables, we have herbs, we have flowers—the babies work with the flowers—and they also learn about what they are planting upstairs in the classrooms. So they can tell you how long it takes for the items to grow, when they can harvest and what they can do with the products.”

Mara Maheia

Mara Maheia, Std. 4 Student, Horizon Academy

“I’m packaging the basils by putting them in olive oil and taking some of it off and packaging it. Basils are eaten best fresh—not too dry, not too wet either. I dip it in the olive oil and then I package it and I put it in a container and then freeze it for at least a day or you freeze it until you need it.”

Siraj Khan

Siraj Khan, Std. 5 Student, Horizon Academy

“I love the garden. It is very  fun easy and you know what type of plants you are dealing with and certain stuff.”

Jose Sanchez

“How long have you been working on this garden?”

Siraj Khan

“[Umm] about a year or two.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you are looking forward to selling some of your product?”

Siraj Khan

“I think so.”

Victoria Burgos

“This is a great opportunity for integration within the classroom. For example; for math, they can come down here and they can measure off the beds, the sizes, shapes, they can count rows, they can count how many plants are in the rows. They can learn about business practices down here. For science, the kids love coming down here to learn about animals especially when they are doing things like food groups—food webs, food chains—they come down here and get the actual physical aspect of it.”

Jose Sanchez

“I notice some of your products are being packaged. What’s that for?”

Victoria Burgos

“Well they are starting to—it’s called the Green Garden Company—it was started actually last year with this same class, Standard 1. They were packaging seeds to save for next year and they decided they wanted to call their packages the Green Garden Company. And so this year now they are not only packaging the seeds, but they also have the fruits of their labor to package for sale. They are starting with the herbs—they have tarragon and basil for sale and soon enough we’re going to be selling them.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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5 Responses for “Students plant the future at Horizon Academy”

  1. Lesley Castillo says:

    Horizon Academy is impressive. Their combination of academics and hands on learning and experience is really a first for Belize. Keep up the great work, Horizon!

  2. Bz says:

    Sounds good, change location. I would never send my kids to school in that building. Does not look safe.

  3. nice says:

    it seems like a place where kids can learn its ok to try and to learn and use their imagination. i wish i had that when i was a kid. good job. in a city where most t hings are negative. continue to plant the good seed in these youths.

  4. islandboy70 says:

    Seems like a good system they have going. They should also consider hydroponic farming which helps in utilizing space and offers a much better yield. Hydroponics doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money to set up but for this school, however a more technical system would allow the children to look at science at a whole new level. Looking at what these teachers have done over two years, I am sure that I am not telling them anything new, they probably have this coming in the near future.

  5. LILLIAN BURGOS says:

    A building does not make a school, the strength and interest of parents and teaches does!

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