Children in Proyecto Cristal go to their nearby state school either in the morning or the afternoon, and they are usually home alone for the remainder of the day. An older cousin or sibling may be around to watch them, but the television often plays the role of baby-sitter. In the after-school program, children are tutored in academic subjects, encouraged to explore literature through reading, drama, and storytelling, and develop artistic expression through structured projects and imaginative play. They also have access to a library, which is the only one in their community. One of the tangible results of this program has been the successful scores on grade-level exams and the advancement of the children in school grades, some of whom had been held back for two or three years at a single elementary school grade level.
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