Academic Program

At Monteverde Friends School, we believe that seeking truth and pursuing a fuller understanding of the world in which we live is a lifelong process. We endeavor to give students the practical and academic foundation they will need to continue to learn and grow.

We cultivate open minds, critical thinking, and curiosity, seeking to make inquiry and involvement a way of life.

Our commitment to truth encompasses deep listening, honest intellectual investigation, and waiting patiently for the guidance of the Spirit. We hope to heighten awareness and an active sense of awe and wonder.

Seniors at Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica become friends for life.

Mixed Grades

All of our classes are combined grades, with about 16 kids per class, or 8 students per grade.

Our Kindergarten class combines Pre-K, Kinder, and Preparatory grades in one classroom. The Kindergarten class is bilingual and follows a Montessori curriculum.

In grades 1 through 12, classes combine two grades, and the curriculum is run on a two-year cycle. For example, one year all 9th and 10th graders study Earth Science and the next year all study Biology.

Teachers employ a variety of teaching methodologies to address diverse learning styles and allow individual students to strive toward their potential. Teachers promote sharing, creative and cooperative learning, and the pursuit of independent learning goals. Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking skills that will allow them to identify problems and create strategies to find solutions. 

Bilingual Education

Local and international students studying outside at Monteverde Friends School

As an English-predominant bilingual school, two-thirds of the curriculum is taught in English and one-third in Spanish. Students learn from each other and from their teachers and other adults in the school, in authentic interactions in the two languages.

Students who are not Spanish-dominant begin with Spanish as a Second Language before entering the full immersion Spanish program. English as a Second Language is required for non-English speakers who enter at first or second grade. Students admitted to the school after second grade must be appropriately proficient in English.

Holistic Education

Education at MFS is holistic, reflecting the values of the Quaker community. In addition to our academic pursuits, we search for the spiritual meaning in day-to-day life. We encourage reflection, questioning, and appreciation for the life of the Spirit in our daily interactions and during our Wednesday Meeting for Worship, which all students and teachers attend. Students prepare for Meeting for Worship with special pre-Meeting classes in their homerooms, which is a time for reflective and community-building activities. Students, teachers, staff, and their families are also welcome to participate in the Sunday Quaker Meeting for Worship and Children’s Meeting (Sunday School), further strengthening our ties to the community in which we live and work.

Students come to understand how their personal choices can produce change in a larger, interdependent world. As they grapple with ethical issues, solve real problems, and actively serve their neighbors, they discover how to build and extend a sense of community amongst themselves and others. They also learn to participate responsibly in the larger community and in the world at large.

Within the school as well as in the larger community, we seek to live in ways that eliminate the causes of war, injustice, and violence. Learning to resolve conflicts in just and creative ways that promote an understanding of the needs of others is standard practice at MFS. Students learn about themselves and explore their own roles in the world. They learn to care for others and for themselves as a foundation for healthy engagement with the challenges and gifts of life.

Happy student at Monteverde Friends School making pizza

Courses and Rankings

MFS students take classes in Mathematics, Science, History and English, taught by experienced teachers, many credentialed in the United States and Canada. Each semester, all students (except those enrolled in Spanish as a Second Language) also study Spanish Language Arts and Costa Rican Social Studies, both taught in Spanish by Costa Rican teachers according to the curriculum of the Costa Rican Ministerio de Educación Pública. All students take classes in the creative arts and Health and Physical Education.

Once a week, students also participate in mini-courses. The courses vary each bimester and focus on different themes, such as arts and crafts, practical skills, sports, and outdoor activities. Courses may include anything from jewelry-making to dancing, chess to cooking.

At MFS, no classes are labeled “Honors.” The school believes that students with different academic abilities bring valuable perspectives and gifts into the community. The school curriculum is designed so that high-achieving students in a given class may produce work comparable in level to honors level work as it is understood in the United States. Exchange students who come to MFS from honors classes in the US, in addition to local students who have attended rigorous independent schools in the US as exchange students, have found MFS courses to provide at least an equivalent level of academic challenge, if not more so.

Monteverde Friends School does not provide class rankings for its students. With a graduating class of between one and eight students each year, class rankings are not statistically significant. Moreover, the school does not believe that class rankings reflect the unique gifts and abilities of each student within the community.

Testing and Results

High school student working hard on academic studies at Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica

With small classes, a low student-to-teacher ratio, and a strong pedagogical approach, MFS has a history of exceptional academic successes.

All (100%) of the seniors who have taken the Costa Rican Bachillerato examinations have earned diplomas from the Costa Rican Ministerio de Educación Pública. Many have scored high enough on the exam to allow them their complete choice of field of study. Our graduates also consistently score above average on SATs compared with test-takers worldwide.

For students choosing to continue their educations at the university level, their MFS education allows them to matriculate to top schools in Costa Rica and the United States and internationally. In the United States, over the past few years MFS graduates have gone on to attend:

  • George Washington University
  • Whittier College
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Grinnell College
  • Oberlin College
  • Georgetown University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • SUNY Ulster
  • Principia College
  • Berea College
  • Boston College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Earlham College
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Yale University
  • And other top U.S. institutions

In Costa Rica, graduates have attended:

  • University of Costa Rica
  • Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica
  • Universidad Santa Lucía
  • Universidad Latina.

Over the past few years, MFS has offered elective Advanced Placement courses in Environmental Science and Biology. These courses are given before the school day begins and are in addition to the science courses offered as part of our standard curriculum. AP courses culminate with a rigorous exam that allows students to earn course credit or advanced course placement at many universities in the United States and Canada. MFS is proud that 100% of the students who have taken these AP courses have passed the AP end-of-course exams.