Primary School (Grades 1-6)
Primary school at MFS is lively and hands-on. Children begin reading and writing in their native language and then are encouraged to use their second language in these areas.
A main classroom teacher has the children two-thirds of each day, teaching language arts, social studies, science, and math principally in English. A Spanish and Costa Rican social studies teacher fills out the other third of the day in Spanish, along with weekly art and physical education classes. See our teachers’ bios and photos here.
Each class is a mixed grade combination: 1st and 2nd grades are together, 3rd and 4th grades are together, and 5th and 6th grades are together. Mixed grades provide opportunities for students to support each other, and they strengthen our sense of community. The school’s commitment to helping people find peaceful solutions to conflict begins with our youngest children in workshops, class meetings, and town meetings.
Creative arts instruction at MFS may include visual arts, drama, or music. The program is flexible and able to respond to the students’ interests and needs, and makes use of local resources.
Other opportunities for the arts include different mini-courses offered each quarter, as well as private music and art lessons offered by artists in Monteverde. Students and community members also have the opportunity each year to perform in evening programs like Talent Night and Coffee House.
MFS is fortunate to receive many visiting groups who come to Monteverde to share their talents with us. Groups have entertained us with musicals, plays, and instrumental and vocal performances. Other groups have offered workshops for our students in conflict resolution, puppetry, and mask-making.
If you are interested in visiting our school and sharing your art or music with us, please visit our page for Visiting Groups.
Located in the world-renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest, MFS takes advantage of the amazing resources of our environment, our community, and our country.
Although Costa Rica is a little smaller than the state of West Virginia, it contains a significant portion of the world’s biodiversity. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, just up the road from MFS, is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 500 different types of butterflies, 420 different types of orchids, and much more. Two hundred and fifty thousand visitors come to Monteverde each year, making it one of the premiere locations in the world for ecotourism.
Students often have classes outside in the nearby forests, streams, farms, and biological reserves. They also make trips during the school day to local museums and zoos to study live bats, butterflies and other insects, frogs, and reptiles. Our community is also rich in human resources, and local field trips include trips to visit founding members of the Quaker community, local farmers, musicians and artisans. Students also participate in the life of the community by attending meetings with local governmental groups and NGOs.
In addition, the older grades take one big class trip each year to locations throughout Costa Rica. Students are involved in deciding on the destination of the trip, fundraising, planning meals, and participating in the academic requirements of the trip. Trips with the younger grades are shorter in duration. Student involvement, as well as the length of the trip, increases as the students grow older.
One afternoon per week, primary and secondary students get to select from a wide variety of “mini-courses” to learn about subjects they are especially interested in. To see the incredible diversity of electives, read more here…