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Mis Manos Montessori

Mis Manos Montessori, or M3 as we call it,  is a NAFE-US school founded in 2011 by Directors Dave Kolle and Rossana Vidal. “Mis Manos” translates to “My Hands”.

Mis Manos Directors, Dave and Rossana, chose the Montessori education model because it is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, a mixed age classroom, emphasis on the discovery model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction, uninterrupted blocks of time for children to work and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process.

In 2011 Mis Manos began as a small school with five children, ages 3 to 6 years-old, in an Early Childhood Education Program.   It has grown to 28 children and is in its second year of a 6-9 year-old lower elementary class, which currently has 12 children.

M3 is Dave and Rossana’s passion.  Children born into poverty in Peru are further stifled by educational, societal, and traditional gender role limitations.  Rossana, having grown up in Trujillo, has abundant concern that children be untethered to these gender roles through education and empowerment.  “Girls grow up assuming they are to stay in the home, to cook, clean, and care after the men.  Many women are silently suffering from emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.”  There is a glass ceiling in Peru that hinders children from wanting to succeed.  They grow up in fear of taking risks, and staying dependent on their parents, frequently living with them until well into their adult years.  

M3 and the style and quality of education it offers can help arrest the cycle of gender stereotypes and inequality, and long standing, negative, social and cultural norms.  Mis Manos not only aims to change the current climate for children, but also desires to build on the child’s growing self-esteem to change the rest of their lives.  

M3 is clearly making a difference.  This is a refrain often heard from the parents of students.  Recently a student’s parent came to Dave and said “I want to thank you for your school.  I have watched my son turn from being a rude, self-centered boy who now is a true leader, who is kind with everyone, and always wants to help.”

What is NAFE-US providing for M3 in 2017?

NAFE-US has afforded Mis Manos Montessori the opportunity to expand its sponsorship program.  NAFE-US is currently sponsoring 13 children from the most poverty stricken areas of Huanchaco.  Many of these children live in adobe mud brick houses, with dirt floors.  Yet, they come to school in clean clothes and with huge smiles on their faces.  NAFE-US is covering the cost of all of their school supplies and transportation to and from school.  NAFE-US is also sponsoring a very qualified Montessori teacher from the United States.  She will be teaching an English immersion program thus giving the children a huge opportunity for a brighter future.

Knowing English in Peru changes everything for these kids.  Along with the education, work ethic and confidence instilled by M3, learning English will set these children up for promising futures–futures of their choosing.  We at NAFE-US are so excited to see where these kids end up and who they choose to become.  Because really, it’s up to them.   We are giving them the opportunity to dream and then live their dreams.

Where is Mis Manos Montessori located?

M3 is located in Huanchaco, Peru.  Huanchaco also happens to be where NAFE-US began.

Huanchaco is located on the beach near the city of Trujillo in northern Peru. It has ancient ruins of the Mochica and Chimu cultures dating back to 200 BC.  It is home of the archaeological site Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to many temples, citadels, and plazas.  It is also home to Huaca del Sol and Huaca la Luna, which are Mochic pyramids and temples.  Huanchaco beach is a fisherman village where the fishermen still use the ancient reed “caballito de totora” boats.  It is the birth place of surfing and ceviche, and is now designated as a World Surfing Reserve, the fifth named in all the world.


Dave Kolle, Co-Founder and Director, Mis Manos Montessori

Dave Kolle is originally from the northeast corner of Montana, a town called Glasgow.  He wanted to get away from the cold winters, which lead Dave to California, after graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in finance, then on to Florida.  

Dave’s thirst for new adventures was not limited to the U.S.  He fell in love with Latin culture, and began traveling in Central and South America.  In 2009, Dave traveled through Peru in search of ancient ruins and good waves, he eventually landed in the wonderful beach village of Huanchaco, and never left.  These days you can find Dave working with the children at M3, hanging out with his daughter and surfing the Peruvian coast.

M3 Co-Founder and Director, Dave Kolle, with his daughter.

Dave being greeted by students at Mis Manos Montessori.







 Rossana Vidal, Co-Founder and Director, Mis Manos Montessori

Rossana grew up in Trujillo Peru.  She moved to the city Lima, Peru to pursue a degree in Architecture.  After graduating from University, Rossana moved back to Trujillo and opened her own architectural firm.  Rossana has always wanted to make a difference in her community.  Along with co-founding and co-directing Mis Manos Montessori, Rossana entered into politics, campaigning for both Mayor of Huanchaco and Congress of Peru.

Rossana Vidal, Co-Founder and Director of Mis Manos Montessori.