Presently serving 520 students from some forty countries around the world, The European School is able to accommodate some 540 students. The school follows its own calendar from late July to late June, breaking every nine to ten weeks for short vacations, so as to provide students with rest periods from the pressure of study. Class sizes never exceed 20 students and pre-school through third grade classes have teaching assistants. The school day runs from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The European School is accredited by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Education as well as by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), which prepares students to meet both Costa Rican and international college entrance requirements. More information on the IB programme can be found in I.B. Programme
Bilingualism is part of The European School philosophy. In an ever-shrinking world, students must have an easy command not only of their native tongue, but, at least, one other language as well. All European School classes are taught in English from kindergarten on. Because Costa Rican culture provides a strong base of conversational Spanish, one daily period of Spanish language and literature ensures that all students become proficient in the language and culture of Latin America. Indeed, most students sit the bilingual IB where both English and Spanish are considered as mother tongues.
French is introduced as of seventh grade and may give the student enough proficiency to further his studies in a French-speaking university.
For the younger, Spanish-speaking children, full immersion in English is a rewarding experience. From kindergarten through third grade, nursery rhymes, songs and poetry are woven into the teaching; students also participate in drama and story-telling activities. For students whose native language is not Spanish, additional tutoring supplements regular course work.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND PERSONAL GROWTH
Not to be dismissed from any discussion of The European School’s curriculum is the very important education that takes place outside the classroom. The school maintains an atmosphere of community and proudly encourages bonds of friendship and helpfulness in every grade level. Empathy and respect for one another are now intrinsic parts of school life. The unity of the school extends beyond grade level and even erases divisions between students, teachers and staff. In this spirit of mutual respect and appreciation, older students help the younger on the playing field and in the classroom; teachers lend a sympathetic ear to anyone who might need one, and all recognize the important work done by those who maintain the school grounds.
Healthy lunches, mostly organic, are served fresh and daily to the whole student community. Meals are family-style with a teacher seated at each table and students taking turn setting the table and cleaning up afterwards.
Reflection 28 years later:
She dared and she succeeded. From the small, 12-student strong group that started off in 1990, The European School is now well consolidated with 530 students.
Not only have we grown in numbers but also in our perception and convictions. We have been blessed with teachers who believed in the system and brought their heart and expertise to the school; together we formed a community.
The curriculum developed around themes resulted in being a fertile ground for further exploration into music and art. We now have a string orchestra with approximately 200 musicians, playing the violin, viola, cello, piano, recorder and ocarina; winds will soon be incorporated.
The campus offers four hectares of beautiful and well-kept grounds which allow the children to unwind and freely play during recess.