Monteverde Friends School serves students from
preschool through high school. It is committed
to small, multi-age classrooms. A typical classroom
has two grades with a total of sixteen students.
Founded 60 years ago by the original Quaker
settlers who arrived in Monteverde, it now predominantly
serves local Costa Rican children, as well as
children of North American parents and Meeting
members. Forty-seven percent of our students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, sponsorships, or tuition remission.
Our kindergarten program serves three, four, and five year olds, and emphasizes bilingual skills, self-directed activities
and children-to-children learning. Our kinder
staff consists of native Spanish speakers and a native English speaker who team teach. Three and four year old children spend only mornings at school, while five year olds stay into the afternoon three days a week. Three year olds come three days a week, and four and five year olds come every day. We recognize
the need for physical and social development
through lots of play, stories and music.
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. Music and Drama, in English, are taught three days each week. Physical education classes, in Spanish, are taught one day a week.
The school’s commitment to helping people find peaceful solutions
to conflict begins with our youngest children
in workshops, class meetings and town meetings.
Middle and high school
classes are taught by several teachers, who
each cover two different subject areas. Again,
math, science, language arts and history are
taught primarily in English with reinforcement
of the same vocabulary in Spanish. Spanish language
arts and Costa Rican social studies are taught
in Spanish. Community
service, participation in local
research projects, and field trips complement
our normal academic work. Music, P.E., Music and Drama are taught as well. Visiting foreign students enrich the body of older students at
MFS. High school students also participate in decision-making committees at the school.
Younger students benefit from tutoring or mentorship
by older ones. Some MFS students attend university
in the United States, while others go to Costa
Rican university; some graduates go right to
work after graduation or begin a family.
One-fifth of our employees are
Quakers. Eighty percent of our staff are Costa Rican and long-time residents from the U.S. and Canada. The remaining twenty percent of the staff come to us from the
U.S. and Canada and have been at the school for at least three years. The Monteverde Friends Monthly Meeting lends its warm support
through making its buildings available, its
presence on the policy-making School Committee,
and its commitment to attending the school’s
educational, fun, and work events, and nurturing our teaching staff.
The school is rich in human
resources and enjoys growing classroom libraries
in English and Spanish. The Monteverde Meeting’s
library (22,000 volumes) is open to the school and community each day. Computers with Internet access are available to students
in the third grade and above. A newly-redesigned soccer field, and a basketball/volleyball court, playground equipment, and surrounding
woods ensure we all spend lots of time outside. Teachers work actively to support the diverse learning needs of students by employing a variety of learning strategies. Parents play a
vital role in the MFS community by participating as classroom volunteers, translators, drivers
on field trips, fundraisers, and maintenance
and cleaning people on work days. We believe
children do better when they see their parents
working at their school. Regular conferences
with teachers and reports home, keep parents,
students and staff connected.