Academics

Preschool and Kindergarten

Preschool and kindergarten students have half-day classes every day with both English and Spanish teachers who rotate the role of lead teacher.  Both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking teachers are present during structured play, or “centers” time, and co-facilitate instruction. The lessons are play-based, exploratory, and centered on 6-week themes and core areas of development, including cognitive development, social and emotional development, first and second language development, and development of motor and artistic skills.

Elementary School (Grades 1-6)

In the Elementary School, English-speaking homeroom teachers give daily instruction in English literacy, Math, and bilingual Theme/Science with integration across subjects. Spanish and Social Studies are taught in Spanish by Spanish-speaking teachers.

English literacy instruction is based on Lucy Calkins/Teacher College Reading and Writing Project Balanced Literacy Approach.  The components include Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, Word Study/Phonics, and Read Aloud. There is a strong emphasis on children reading, writing, and growing at their own levels and designing lessons from class needs (reference texts include The Art of Teaching Reading and The Art of Teaching Writing).

Elementary-level mathematics instruction includes the TERC Investigations curriculum, a hands-on approach where learning is done through discovery and child observations lead the teaching.  Each classroom includes a set of these books for teachers.

Every elementary grade level also rotates through six, six-week themes which can be taught as a separate subjects but are also integrated across subjects wherever possible.  The themes are the underlying structure which guide learning in other subjects, including environmental education.  Example themes include ecosystems, water, human body. Click here to download the complete list of Themes Grades 1-6.

High School (Grades 7-11)

Our high school students receive six core academic subjects on a modified block schedule, as well as a wide variety of volunteer- and teacher-taught electives. The basic breakdown of instruction is as follows:

  • English Language Arts: Students improve their communication abilities and critical thinking skills through the language arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing.  (Instruction in English.)
  • Science: Students progress through earth science, physics, biology, advanced biology and chemistry during their five years of high school. Field work may include weather monitoring, water quality testing, reforestation studies, and simple lab work. (Taught in English.)
  • Math: Students progress each year through a study of pre-algebra, algebra I, geometry, algebra II and pre-calculus. ( Taught in English.)
  • Spanish: Students study linguistics, grammar, writing and literature.  (Taught in Spanish.)
  • Social Studies and Civics: Social studies class focuses on the cultural and natural history of Costa Ric11th grade EEa, Central America and the world.  Civics covers the rights and responsibilities of citizens of Costa Rica. (Taught in
  • Spanish.)
  • Electives: electives courses rotate frequently and may include course offerings  by local teachers (examples: drama, exam prep, campus beautification, team sports
    ) or by volunteers (examples: ceramics, mural making, computer literacy, home repair, yoga)

Benchmarks and course descriptions available on request (email: opportunities@cloudforest

school.org). Please visit Our Philosophy for details on instructional methodology.

Exploring the world, from the ground up | Explorando el mundo, hoja por hoja.

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