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About MFS

 Vision, Mission, and Philosophy

What is MFS?

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.

Last Modified: 1 September 2011