Our first school visit was to the Blue Valley School near San Jose.
The Blue Valley School is perhaps the finest private school in all of Costa Rica. It is a pre-K – 12 school with two classes per grade level. The students begin at BVS at 3.5 years in a 3.5-5 Montessori style pre-school/ kindergarten. The school operates on a school within a school model that has one class per grade level group that begins the school year in February and ends the year in December. The other group begins a school year in September and their year ends in May. The school is private with strict academic requirements for admission and enrolls between 20-25 students per class (40-50 students per grade level. There are about 650 students in the school). The school has a major focus on environmental issues and social action.
|Walkway to classrooms|
|Some things are universal|
|High School Science Room|
|Several Configuration Possibilities|
The main focus of the social action is literacy and English with kids at disadvantaged schools. High school kids work as mentor/reading tutors for kids in lower grades. They worked one on one with the students and said the key to getting kids in high school excited about the environment and service work is to start making it a priority in early grades.
The school has a 6 week break in December/January and another 6 week break in June/July. Both A and B schedules have the same break times. The science classrooms were very sparse in high school with interesting re-arrangable tables that fit together like tiles.
Some grade levels had 6 periods a day, most had seven and finishing in senior year they have 10 class periods a day. Science classes are two class periods long. They have a 30 minute free time break on their own every day for the older students from 10-10:30. During our visit, the majority of kids in the school did not seem to be supervised by anyone (working very independently).
It was a great visit. I was pleased that The Mountain Community School has so much in common with one of the best schools in Costa Rica!