No! We have wonderful students, teachers, families and administrators at Del Mar; however, we are far from perfect. Operating a school at the “end of the dirt road” in Central America provides many challenges. We are not, and will never be the right school for everyone. We have been in operation since 2007 and have had our share of growing pains. We receive students from all around the world who come with different experiences and expectations. Del Mar Academy’s vision has always been to serve the greater Nosara community. We cannot, nor wish to, be compared with schools from developed cities around the world who have been operating for decades. The Nosara experience is as unique as many of the challenges we face. Our hearts are devoted to making Del Mar Academy a wonderful place to learn and grow and we constantly strive to assess, adjust and adapt to be the best bilingual, Montessori/IB, environmental school we can be.
Yes. We became a legal Costa Rican Foundation in January 2019 and operate as a non-profit school.
Yes, please! We find that families enjoy seeing the Del Mar Academy campus, especially during school hours when the students and staff are present. We have a beautiful and natural environment on the campus and our students behave calm, peaceful, welcoming, respectful, independent, curious, and engaged. We also welcome you to schedule an observation in one of our classrooms for a more in-depth look at the academic program. To schedule a tour or an observation, please contact us.
For the 2022-2023 school year, Del Mar Academy was composed of about 267 students, 30% of whom were Costa Rican nationals, and more than a third of whom are what might be considered culturally and linguistically Costa Rican. Among the international families, more than 25 nationalities are represented. Those countries include families from North America, South America, all over Europe and even as far away as Tanzania, Australia and New Zealand. We are proud to be a school that is both firmly rooted in the local community and enriched by a broad range of cultures from around the globe.
No. At the beginning of the school year each family will sign a contract that states tuition is non refundable. This is a vital policy for the financial stability of Del Mar Academy. Over the years some families leave school for a variety of reasons before the end of the school year; but when a child is given a space in the classroom, the school is required to pay the staff and operating expenses of the school through the remainder of the school year.
Del Mar Academy is accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education (MEP). This accreditation is essential not only as one assurance of school quality, but also as a critical validation of Del Mar Academy’s school records in case you decide to move your child from Del Mar Academy to another school in Costa Rica or abroad. We encourage you to carefully consider the accreditation of schools you may be considering for your child and ensure that accreditation comes from widely recognized and respected accrediting bodies. Students who have left Del Mar Academy have consistently met or exceeded learning expectations in other schools.
Del Mar Academy is an authorized IB World School that offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to students in grades 11 and 12. Our 4-10th grade are inspired by the MYP, but not yet accredited. IB World Schools share a common philosophy and commitment to high quality international education. For more information about the IB program, please visit the IBO website.
This entirely depends on the child’s desire to learn. Students who come to Del Mar Academy will not be bilingual in one-two years. They will get a very solid foundation in Spanish; however, bilingualism greatly depends on what the students do outside of school. English is the common language in the lunchroom, at recess and on weekends. If bilingualism is very important to you, we suggest that your student interact with local Spanish speaking children, watch TV/movies in Spanish and perhaps get Spanish tutoring outside of school. For the students who stay at Del Mar Academy for longer periods of time, they will become bilingual and have an opportunity to earn a bilingual International Baccalaureate Degree.
Our classes currently have the following student-teacher ratios or maximums:
- Casa and Lower Primary: 1 teacher for every 10 students.
- Upper Primary (4th-6th grade): up to 24 students with one lead teacher.
- Secondary (7th-12th grade): up to 24 students with one lead teacher.
*Please note that there are rare instances where class sizes may exceed the above numbers
CASA: Children must be three (3) years and three months old by September 1st, and they must be potty-trained (Multi-age grouping).
Lower Primary: Children must be six (6) years old by September 1st or have successfully completed Kindergarten at an accredited institution, which must provide all transfer documents, to enter 1st grade. To enter 2nd or 3rd grade, the child must have completed the previous grade at an accredited institution, which must provide all transfer documents (Multi-age grouping).
Upper Primary: Upper Primary, out 2nd cycle includes the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. To enter each grade, the child must have completed the previous grade at an accredited institution, which must provide all transfer documents. (Grouping by grade).
Lower Secondary (7th, 8th, and 9th grades) Our 3rd cycle consists of the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. Each grade meets separately except in some non core classes.
Upper Secondary (10th, 11th and 12th grades). The Upper Secondary includes our IB Baccalaureate Diploma program. Each grade meets separately in all classes
We are very proud of our faculty and staff and know that they have a determining influence on the quality of our academic programs. Our lead teachers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and either their teaching certification or a master’s degree in a content area. We invite you to review our Administration and Faculty biographies to learn more about our team.
Del Mar Academy values diversity and wants to be as an inclusive school as possible. We do not currently have all the necessary financial resources nor are we staffed to support all special needs students. Depending on the support necessary for each special needs student, some parents are asked to hire additional teachers to support their student at the expense of the parents. These specialty teachers can be difficult to find in a remote place like Nosara. Each special needs student’s admission will be evaluated on a case-by-case scenario.
The school year for Del Mar Academy students begins in early September and ends in late June. There are extended vacations in December and April as well as long-weekends for a mid-trimester break each trimester. Costa Rican national holidays are observed. We invite you to see our school calendar here.
The school day is from 7:45 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday, with after school activities from 3:15 to 4:15 pm. Classes finish at 2:00pm every Tuesday for the entire school body for teacher professional development.
Nutrition is one of the important areas for learning at Del Mar Academy, and our lunch program is a part of that learning. Families have the choice to send their children with lunch or to purchase the well-balanced, nutritious, and varied lunches at reasonable prices (which vary by age) provided by a local, Costa Rican vendor, who is very adaptable to special dietary requirements. For lunches and snacks sent from home, we provide straightforward, basic guidelines in our nutrition policy. Snacks at the primary level are provided by a single parent, per class- per day on a rotating calendar.
Under exceptional circumstances, students can enroll for a minimum of two trimesters (6 months) and contribute to year round fees, scholarship and capital improvements program fees.
Of course! In fact, Del Mar Academy parents commit to a minimum of 15 cooperative hours per year, supporting school programs. We know there is a strong correlation between parent involvement and school quality and DMA parents’ participation enables us to achieve great things together to benefit our students and community. Parents participate in many ways, including reading with students in the classroom, helping with materials, co-planning and chaperoning field trips, leading or participating in parent committees, lending their special expertise to the school, and much, much more. Our school parents are amazing.
The Board of Directors formulates and approves the foundation’s budget every year. The Board constantly struggles with keeping tuition as low as possible so that Del Mar Academy is a school as inclusive as feasible to the families of the greater Nosara community while being able to attract and retain talented teachers and expanding the offerings of the school.
Competitive merit and needs based Scholarship are available to resident Costarrican children. Tuition exchange for services programs are also available at the school’s discretion.
Most of us LOVE IT, but it is not for everyone. Nosara is a transient community that has a lot of people come and go. It takes a certain type of person to live in a remote jungle. Some newcomers aren’t prepared for the sacrifices it takes to live here. Others find Nosara a place they would never leave. We suggest that you meet and talk to several “locals” and have a deep understanding of life 9 degrees above the equator. Here is a helpful website about life in Nosara: www.nosaraliving.com.