Frequently asked questions
What standards do you use?
At Mareas Academy we follow Costa Rican standards for Spanish Language & Literature, and Spanish Social Studies, and U.S. standards for everything else.
What curriculum do you use?
At Mareas we started initially using the Oak Meadow Homeschool Curriculum but we have slowly branched out, building a curriculum that meets the needs of our students. We use Singapore Math, Costa Rican Ministry of Education materials for Spanish and Spanish Social Studies. Science for grades 1-6 is based on Scott Foresman Science. None of these materials are used in isolation, each teacher supplements the core materials with additional information and activities, with the goal being to make each lesson a relevant and integral part of each student’s growth.
Will the work done at Mareas transfer to other schools? Are you Accredited?
The work that your child does at Mareas will transfer to other schools, provided that they attend a full year. Our accreditation works a little bit differently. We function as a satellite school of The Ogburn School, located in Florida, USA. Each student at Mareas is individually accredited by The Ogburn School. The education they receive here, and the accompanying documentation are the equivalent of a Private School education in the United States. Each week, we send a representative sample of each student’s work, the teachers at the Ogburn School check it over to make sure that each student is working at grade level, and that the grades we are giving are appropriate to the work being done. At the end of the school year, they issue the official transcripts, with an Apostille, which makes them legally acceptable documents in any country that is part of the Hague Apostille Convention. We have had students return to the United States, Canada, France, and the public school system in Costa Rica, where they are accepted at the corresponding grade level without any problem. If your child will not be completing a full year with us, we are happy to provide documentation of their time with us, but it is not an official transcript.
My child doesn’t speak Spanish yet, will that be a problem?
Not really. Children pick up new languages remarkably fast, and one of the best ways for them to do that is to be surrounded by other children who are speaking Spanish. Most of our students use Spanish at Lunch and at play, they will stop and take the time to explain to a child who doesn’t speak Spanish, but then the game will continue in Spanish and non-Spanish speakers tend to pick up fairly quickly. This effect, paired with a personalized approach to Spanish language acquisition tends to get most children speaking and reading in Spanish pretty quickly. Many are working at the appropriate grade level for native speakers before the end of their first year. Spanish language learners are in a separate class from the native speakers until they reach a level where they are able to join the regular class.
What do I need to do to enroll my child?
Please go to the "How to Apply" section of the website, it explains the process.
What’s the class mix? How many students per class?
Each class has, an average of 10 students, and a maximum of 15 , attendance varies significantly by time of year. The classes are a mix of Costa Ricans, Ex-pat local children who live here permanently, and visitors from other countries.
What kind of family involvement is expected?
We ask that each family donate 6 hours of their time per trimester to volunteer with the school. Volunteer hours can be done in many ways and depend on each family’s particular strengths, abilities, and availability.
We really want to live in Samara, can you help us find a home?
We can try! Each family’s needs vary, but we know many people in the area who own or manage properties who can help you find one that meets your needs. Just ask. If you are planning to rent during high-season, or long term, please start to look as soon as possible.
Do you offer extra-curricular activities?
At the moment, the school does not offer any formal extra-curricular activities. Most kids here are involved in individual activities such as surfing, art classes, martial arts, gymnastics, dance lessons and soccer. As a school we perform traditional dances at civic events in town, most children participate and enjoy the dancing. Please understand that the facilities needed for some sports and activities simply aren’t available. In Nicoya, about 45 minutes away, there are more organized sports teams through the local rec center. Once you are here it is fairly easy to find other people who are interested in doing things, there are daily volley ball and soccer games on the beach for example. It's hard to explain how it works but all of our students are very active.
Do you offer Financial Aid?
Unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to offer Financial Aid. We are actively working to build our Scholarship Fund, but for the moment no Financial Aid or discounts are available.
We're thinking of moving to Costa Rica, what's life like in Samara?
Samara is a small town on the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. With approximately 3000 residents this town is growing rapidly. Samara is a favorite destination for families who are looking for a safe swimming beach off of the beaten path.
Home to many local artisans and a variety of good restaurants Samara is a great place to relax, learn to surf, kayak, hike or do any number of other things (or nothing at all). Samara doesn’t have any major hotel chains, and it maintains a quaint charm.