What types of schools do most expats in your city choose for their children?
In Costa Rica, the General Basic Education (public school) is mandatory and free for all children without restrictions, but most expats send their children to a private school. The local school calendar goes from February to November, but many expats go for schools with the American calendar (August to May).
What are some examples of these schools?
American International School (AIS) Pre-K to 12: A school of 180 students located in Cariari, Heredia. Classes are taught in English and the school follows the United States calendar curriculum. English as a second language (ESL) and Spanish as a second language (SSL) are both offered at no additional fee. What distinguishes AIS from other international schools is its family-oriented environment, the student to teacher ratio of 12:1, and acceptance of all siblings including those with special needs. Two diplomas are offered at AIS: the National Baccalaureate and the United States diploma.
Blue Valley School Pre-K to 12: A school of 580 students located in Escazu. Classes are taught in English; Spanish is offered at an additional charge with private tutors. What distinguishes Blue Valley from other international schools is that they operate on both the Costa Rican and the American calendar. This school offers the IB (International Baccalaureate) and the MEP (National Baccalaureate) but does not offer the U.S. diploma.
Web site: http://www.bluevalley.ed.cr/
British School Pre-K to 12: A school of 900 students located in Rohrmoser and operates on the Costa Rican calendar. Classes are taught in English, however, ESL and SSL are offered only at the primary level. Eighty-five percent of the student body are native Costa Ricans while the remaining 15 percent consists of 21 different nationalities including British, Canadian, American and other European nationals. What distinguishes the British School is its International Primary Curriculum, the International Certificate of Education and the (IB) International Baccalaureate.
Country Day School Pre-K to 12: A school of 800 students located in the hills of Escazu, which operates on the United States calendar and curriculum. Classes are taught in English; ESL (English as a second language) is not offered and children who do not speak fluent English are not accepted. On the other hand, this is one of the most prestigious schools in Costa Rica, which also has a branch in Guanacaste. CDS offers the National Baccalaureate as well as the United States diploma.
Web site: http://www.cds.ed.cr/
Country Day School Guanacaste: A branch of the Country Day School in Escazu. This campus offers a similar curriculum and all subjects are taught in English.
Telephone: 506 2654-5042
Fax: 506 2654-5044
Web site: http://www.cdsgte.com/
European School Pre-K to 12: A school of 300 students located in San Pablo de Heredia. It follows its own calendar from late July to late June, breaking every nine to ten weeks for short vacations. Classes are taught in English only. Students who are not fluent in English will not be accepted into this school. For students who do not speak Spanish, there are required additional tutoring supplements added to the regular curriculum. In other words, students should be bilingual when entering this school or be prepared to pay additional fees for tutoring. Both the IB (International Baccalaureate) and the National Baccalaureate are offered at the European School.
Web site: www.europeanschool.com
Humboldt School Pre-K to 12: This school is located in Rohmoser with approximately 750 students. Classes are taught in German, English and Spanish. If you are not of German descent, you will not be accepted into this school.
Web site: http://www.humboldt.ed.cr/
International Christian School Pre-K to 12: Located in San Miguel, Santo Domingo de Heredia. This school operates on the United States calendar year with a United States curriculum. With 600 students, ICS is a multinational school teaching in English. What distinguishes this school from others is that it promotes the active lordship of Jesus Christ in all respects of life with Bible classes as a part of the curriculum. ICS has both ESL and SSL program, and offers both the National Baccalaureate and the United States diploma.
Web site: http://www.icscr.net/
Lincoln School Pre-K to 12: Largest private school in Costa Rica with 1,100 children enrolled, located in the mountains of Moravia outside of San Jose. Classes are taught in English following the United States curriculum and United States calendar. ESL and SSL are offered in addition to the regular schedule. What distinguishes Lincoln from other schools is that it offers all three diplomas, the International Baccalaureate, National Baccalaureate, and the United States diploma.
Web site: http://www.lincoln.ed.cr/
Marian Baker:School of 200 located in San Ramon de Trios, between San Jose and Cartago. This school offers a United States and Costa Rican-based curriculum following the United States schedule. Classes are taught in English, however, ESL and SSL are taught for those who are not at the same level of the other children. Marian Baker offers both the National Baccalaureate and the United States diploma.
Web site: http://www.marianbakerschool.com/
Pan American School Pre-K to 11: A school of 600 students located in San Antonio de Belen that operates on the Costa Rica calendar and curriculum. Classes are taught in English and in Spanish. This is the only school on the list that doesn't go to the 12th grade. Classes go to the 11th grade, finishing with National Baccalaureate. This school is very popular in the Central Valley because of the excellent education that is offered.
Web site: http://www.panam.ed.cr/
The Monteverde Friends School, Monteverde, Costa Rica K to 12: Nestled in the cloud forest community of Monteverde, Costa Rica, the Monteverde Friends School was founded over 50 years ago by Quakers who left the United States in search of a country and community that supported their peaceful principles. Today, the school continues to promote the universal values of peace, love and respect in the context of a challenging bilingual education and a sense of community.
Web site: http://www.mfschool.org
The Cloud Forest School, Monteverde, Costa Rica, K to 11: The Cloud Forest School, locally known as the Centro de Educacion Creativa, is a bilingual school located in the tropical cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Founded in 1991 to increase educational opportunities for a growing population of school-age children in the area, this independent school offers creative, experiential instruction to over 200 students with an emphasis on integrating environmental education into all aspects of the school.
Web site: http://www.cloudforestschool.org/
Is there a lot of competition for spots in local schools?
It is recommended that parents apply at least six months in advance of the school year to avoid any problems.
Are pre-schools also widely available (for children approx. 2 to 5 years old)?
Most private schools include pre-kindergarten for children from 3 to 5 years old.
How are most kids transported to and from school?
Most private schools do provide school buses. In cases where buses are not provided, parents drive their children.
When does the typical school year start and end?
Public, Catholic, and some of the private European schools operate on the Costa Rican schedule, which operates from mid-February to late November. Schools following the United States curriculum operate on a United States calendar starting in mid-August and finishing in May, with a month off for Christmas in December-January.
Is there anything else I should know about local schools?
It is a good idea to visit a number of schools before deciding which one is right for your child. You should ask to visit a couple of classrooms as well as see all of the facilities. That way you can view the school's infrastructure.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.