Our goals at Del Mar Academy are to help our students become bilingual and bi-literate by meeting their individual language learning needs. We realize that there are various levels of “bilingualism” but we are confident that with the support from home, time, and an interest from the child, it is possible to create a plan that will enable a child to achieve academic success in his second language equal to that of his non-native language.
To aid our efforts, we use a dual-language (Spanish and English) immersion approach: An approach that is constantly reviewed and evaluated by the faculty to meet the language needs of our student population. Our dual-approach stresses literacy and content in both the Spanish and English languages from the toddler through the elementary levels.
At the pre-primary levels, children begin singing and vocabulary building in both the English and Spanish languages to support their oral development. However, based on research conducted in the field of bilingual education, our teachers support the child’s literacy development (learning how to read and write) in his or her native language first. If the child is bilingual already or is not fluent in either Spanish or English, the teacher will meet with the parent(s) to decide what language should be used first to build the child’s literacy skills. Although there are exceptions, we have found that transferring strong literacy skills over to another language is easier than learning basic literacy skills in both languages.
Once our children enter the Lower and Upper Elementary levels, they are immersed in a 50/50 bilingual program. Time and subjects are divided in such a way to ensure that our students receive an equal amount of instruction in both languages. Similar to the pre-primary levels, the teacher works with the child’s parents to create an appropriate language-learning plan based on the child’s needs.
Interdisciplinary Studies at DMA include environmental and nutritional education for students, along with our enrichment program. We believe that these studies are an integral part of everything we do and are essential in providing our students with a well-rounded education.
We introduce our students to the various facets of the sustainability paradigm throughout their education by integrating environmental literacy, social responsibility and sustainability materials into core and extracurricular subjects. Our goal is to reduce apathy, and instill attitudes and skills required to be positive change agents for the society. We want our students to develop an:
- Increased sense of responsibility and care for the future of society,
- Increased belief that they can make a difference, and an
- Increased willingness to participate in solving societal and environmental problems.
We also strive to implement principles of Circular Economy into our classrooms and the day to day running of our school.
At the core of all of our environmentally conscious efforts exist the virtues of beauty, kindness, respect, stewardship, and wonder towards the environment. These core virtues guide us in the creation, organization, implementation and integration of the following individual yet interconnected perspectives at Del Mar Academy.
Some of our efforts include:
- Ecological Blue Flag Program
Every year, Del Mar Academy participates in the Ecological Blue Flag Program. This program awards a highly respected and recognized national eco-label called the Blue Flag. Blue Flags are awarded to schools that meet strict criteria with regard to everything from water quality to environmental education programs.
- Guardians of Nature
Children from toddler through 5th grade have the Guardian of Nature hour every week. An intense hour of eco-literacy and action towards preserving our precious home.
- Environmental Theme of the Year
Every year our teachers and students choose an Environmental Theme which is interlinked in everything we do. The theme is launched by a presentation to all students and from there it gets imbedded in every class and special activity throughtout the year. In the Spanish class for example, the children do essays around this theme, in the art classrooms they do a drawing contest related to this theme, and in this same way any teacher can relate it to their subject. We wrap up the environmental theme of the year during our Environmental Festival.
- Empowerment/Creation of Campaigns
We empower our students to take initiatives to address the urgent environmental concerns within the community.
- Celebration of World Environment Day
World Environment Day (June 5) is celebrated in a very special way at Del Mar Academy. Every school year we begin preparations for this celebration on the first day of classes.
- Community Service
DMA’s Community Service Program includes environmental projects performed by all grade levels. Tree planting, collection of recyclables within the Nosara community, preparing environmental education materials and activities for local schools, beach cleaning, as well as other projects are some of the activities and events in which our students participate during the school year.
- Recycling and Organic Compost
Our recycling program give children first-hand experience with the importance of preserving the earth’s resources and proper disposal for re-use. Students produce organic compost with all the organic waste generated at our school. In an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible, the school also attempts to purchase items that are made from recycled materials.
- Eco field trips
Students take field trips within the Nosara District to learn about their immediate surroundings. We take field trips to different protected areas within the Guanacaste province. One of our excursions is visiting the Ostional Wildlife Refuge where they see the turtle “arribadas” and egg hatchings.
- Permaculture garden
Our garden on Del Mar’s campus uses circular economy and permaculture principles, while actively involving students, teachers, parents, community members and local experts.
- Zero Waste Events
Del Mar Academy Events have the goal of being ZERO WASTE or as close to this goal as possible. We use reusable glasses and banana and almendro leaves to serve finger foods. At the end of any event we expect a minimum amount of waste, dominated by organic residue.
PASO 1. Problema ambiental que tratas resolver
Usa cualquier video-cámara para contar el problema que tratas de resolver.
PASO 2. ¿Qué estás haciendo para resolverlo?
Explica y demuestra qué estás haciendo para resolver el problema.
PASO 3. Enseña el siguiente cartel #MovimientoGuardianes
Haz un rótulo utilizando papel reciclado u otro material eco-amigable y muéstralo durante tu video.
PASO 4. Invita a otros niños
Al final del video invitá a otros niños y docentes a crear un video de su reto ambiental
Enviar video a: firstname.lastname@example.org o subirlo a las redes sociales con el hashtag #MovimientoGuardianes y haciendo un tag en FB e Instagram @movimientoguardianes
Field Trips and Expeditions
Taking advantage of our amazingly diverse environment here in Costa Rica, Del Mar Academy offers Educational Field Trips to locations as close as our campus jungle and as far of as San Jose, the Nicoya peninsula, and the National Parks up North. As our students grow older, the Field trips take them to distances farther away with longer stays and challenging educational components – Earth University, Osa Pennisula and Cerro Chirripó are some of the more challenging Field learning trips the older children have in their future. So whether it be the simple joy of learning about a colony of ants taking up home on our campus or climbing the highest peak in Costa Rica, our children are absorbed in the educational experience each unique location has to offer.
After School Programs
We formed this community aiming at the enrichment of our children. Along the time, we realized that parents’ involvement would boost such growing exponentially. Thus, we built bridges between all three vertexes of the school triangle (students, parents, and faculty), letting every member choose the better way to actively participate.
Our tools to play are a range of activities gathered in three divisions; artistic, athletic and academic, which fill the idea of holistic education. In each division you may find activities for CASA, Lower & Upper Elementary and Secondary School students. Also we have activities that welcome parents’ participation. The activities selection is based on the family’s requests and the real chances to have the elements to make them happen. Some of the most popular ones are: Soccer, Climbing, Surfing, Muay Thai, LaCrosse, Mountain Biking, Arts&Crafts, Theater / Improvisation, Chess, SUP Tours, Spanish for Newcomers, Academic Support, among others.
Del Mar Academy admits students with a variety of skills, strengths and talents. The school makes every effort to provide students with a rich curriculum that is adaptable to a variety of learning needs. Students in need of more significant learning support are accepted on a case by case basis. If extra staffing or testing is required to support the child, the cost of these services is passed on to the parents.
Students with limited English or Spanish are admitted to Del Mar Academy, but in grades four and older, after school language classes are required (at an additional fee) until the child reaches academic competence in both of these languages.