Founder of the Sandy Bay Alternative School

Founder of the School:

Sandy Bay Alternative School was founded by Miriam Hanson nearly 12 years ago in response to a need she saw in Roatan for quality education for expat children. The school was started in Miriam's house in a spare bedroom and has grown to a program with 20 staff members and nearly 100 students in grades K through 12. Miriam's vision for the school began a journey that would take the school from a spare bedroom to a campus with four large buildings to serve the students' current needs.

Miriam's education philosophy was that students need to be guided and led through a joyful and meaningful education process. That philosophy remains today. Many schools, especially in Honduras, attempt to teach students by demanding that they learn lessons by rote memorization, a method that experts understand to be not effective. Miriam's philosophy includes careful guidance through the learning process by a caring and understanding teacher. To maximize the learning, the student needs to be free to learn, unencumbered by many of the rules and restrictions that conventional schools employ. Of course there is discipline, both in the classroom and in the interaction between teacher and learner. Without this discipline, students would gain little from the process. But the discipline is a leading and encouraging rather than pushing or punishing. This philosophy will endure in the school.

The school grew rapidly over the next few years moving out of the spare bedroom to a building with space for several grades, and then to a larger complex of buildings with room to accommodate 100 students.

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