10 things you should know when buying Tamarindo real estate
Pt. 9: Tamarindo Area Schools
In part one of this ten-part series, we discussed the Costa Rican legal system and how it differs from the U.S. legal system. In part two, we discussed how to choose a realtor. In part three, we discussed property managers and the services they provide in maintaining and renting your vacation home. In the fourth installment, we discussed the various taxes that may apply when owning Tamarindo real estate. In part five, we discussed the various utilities that service your new home. In part six, we discussed the types of insurance available for your Tamarindo Real Estate and how to obtain insurance policies. In the seventh installment, we discussed the different types of, and ways to obtain, residency in Costa Rica. In part 8, we discussed hiring domestic help for your Tamarindo Real Estate. In this installment, we will discuss enrolling your child in school in Costa Rica.
Enrolling Your Child In School
If you plan on making your Tamarindo Real Estate property your full-time home with your family, you will need to enroll your child in school. You will have two schooling options for your child: public or private school.
Public School System
Costa Rica has a very impressive public school system, setting it apart from its Central American neighbors. If you decide to enroll your child in public school, you need to be aware of a few things. First off, public schools in Costa Rica use the national language, Spanish, so if your child is young and you want to fully immerse your child in a new language, this won’t be a problem. But if your child is older and doesn’t speak or understand Spanish, he or she may have a very difficult time acclimating to school in Costa Rica.
The public school system in Costa Rica is broken down into two levels, primary and secondary. Primary school, or elementary school, lasts for six years, while secondary school, essentially middle and high school combined, lasts for five or six years, depending on the school and the type of diploma being earned. Upon completion of secondary school, students graduate with a Costa Rican Bachelaureate, or diploma. This diploma allows students to apply for and attend college or university in Costa Rica. If your child wants to attend college or university outside of Costa Rica, he or she will need to attend a private school, in order to graduate with a US diploma or an International Baccalaureate.
Public school students must wear a uniform when attending school. Also, students must have proof of residency, citizenship, or a child visa which allows them to attend public school. The public school year runs from February to December; essentially, “summer break” takes place during the months of December, January, and February. There is a small break from classes in July as well, but this only for one to two weeks.
While Costa Rica values education and the literacy rate for the country is very high at 93%, public schools are basic, and classrooms are rudimentary, with few textbooks, and no computers in most schools outside of San Jose. Costa Rica follows its own curriculum which is not recognized internationally. For this reason, many expats living in Costa Rica full time send their children to private school.
Costa Rica is home to some amazing private schools and while there is a tuition fee to attend private school in Costa Rica, it is generally quite affordable compared with tuition costs for private schools in the US, allowing your child the chance to receive a top-notch education, for a fraction of the price.
In the Tamarindo area, you will find several very prestigious, unique, and popular private schools for your child to attend. Many private schools in Costa Rica are bilingual, allowing your child to learn Spanish, while still receiving instruction in English, helping make the transition of attending school in Costa Rica easier. Private schools also offer different diplomas for students to graduate with so that upon completion of high school, students may attend college or university outside of Costa Rica if they wish to do so. Most private schools offer the Costa Rican Bachelaureate and a US diploma, and some offer an International Bachelaureate as well. Some private schools follow the same calendar year as public schools, while others operate on a year ’round system. Each school is different, and you’ll need to look into a few before finding the right fit for your child.
Some of the most popular private schools in the Tamarindo area are The Country Day School Guanacaste, La Paz Community School, and Educarte. The Country Day School Guanacaste is the satellite campus for The Country Day School in San Jose, originally founded in 1963 as a private English language school in the Central Valley. The Guanacaste location was founded in 2000 and serves to educate the young minds of the Tamarindo area. The Country Day School provides pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education and offers a boarding school program for grades 8-12. Students from other countries can attend The Country Day School Guanacaste boarding school program, creating an even more vibrant mix of students at this prestigious school. The curriculum at The Country Day School is comparable to the most selective independent US and college-preparatory schools. The Country Day School offers both the Costa Rican Baccalaureate and US diplomas, allowing graduates to attend top universities and colleges both within and outside of Costa Rica.
La Paz Community School is a relatively new private school in the Tamarindo area. Founded in 2007, La Paz has grown from its original 50 students to over 200 students in just 6 years. La Paz operates on a year ’round schedule and is a bi-lingual school, offering both the Costa Rican Baccalaureate and the International Baccalaureate. La Paz is part of the International Baccalaureate Organization, a non-profit educational organization with over 3,000 schools in 146 countries committed to a high standard of education. Students who graduate from La Paz have the chance to attend college or university throughout the world with the International Baccalaureate Diploma. La Paz offers preschool, primary, and high school education programs and also has a study abroad program for high school students wishing to spend some time in Costa Rica.
Educarte is a new preschool and primary school site of Saint Joseph School, which just recently opened in September of 2011. Saint Joseph School in San Jose has over 40 years of educational experience, and the new site in Guanacaste brings that expertise to the children of Tamarindo and the surrounding area. Educarte is a bi-lingual school that helps young students develop their emotional intelligence through logical and creative thinking.
From early education at Educarte, through high school graduation at either The Country Day School or La Paz Community School, there are plenty of fine private schools to choose from in the Tamarindo area. You can be sure that whether you enroll your child in public or private school after having moved to your Tamarindo Real Estate property permanently, that your child will receive one of the best educations possible.
PPV Tamarindo Real Estate is an Eco-conscious, residential Ocean View community located on Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Our development offers more luxury than you would ever expect at an affordable price. Our development is close to beautiful beaches; offers Ocean View Condos; lots offering panoramic Ocean views; and affordable tropical residential lots.