Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The school is idyllic. Charming. Set among some 7 acres in the jungle, it is a small Montessori school. Sadie's class is a combined 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, with a total of 20 students. The kids are from all over the world, as are the staff. The majority of the students are native spanish speakers, though english is the main playground language of choice. They spend 3 hours in the morning doing traditional Montessori stuff (don't ask me, it's a mystery), then in the afternoon they have two hours of Spanish class, which is basically the costa rican public school curriculum consisting primarily of reading, writing and social studies. They are trying more this year to integrate the english and spanish portions of the day, as I gather that the lack of a true bilingual experience has been the source of some criticism in the past. After spanish class they have some type of enrichment class - P.E., art, movement, yoga. In addition they offer several after school classes - latin dance, surfing and soccer. The campus has a small farm and this year they will be planting a food garden. Idyllic. Charming.
Montessori is not big on a lot of homework at this age, so unlike her fellow 2nd graders back in Oakland who are being sent home with an hour or more's worth of homework every night, Sadie will likely be asked only to read for 1/2 hour per day. Later. As one parent put it to me, the kids don't have time for homework anyway because after school they all go to the beach, then they are home for dinner and asleep by 7:30. At the latest. Works for me, though reintegration into Oakland Unified might be challenging....
The best part about school so far though is...KIDS! Sadie finally gets to play with other kids on a regular basis and she is thrilled. And now that school is back in session, kids are all over town. It's an interesting and fun time to be living here. There are virtually no tourists and, thus, virtually nothing open. However, that means that everywhere we go we meet people who live here and, now, everywhere we go we see people we know. It is the kind of small town life that I've never experienced but that I certainly see the appeal of in many ways. The joy of watching your child play tag on the beach with a pack of kids of all ages as the sun sets over the water. The pleasure of sitting at a table in the sand eating ceviche while your kid plays in the water with the kids from the adjoining table. The sweetness of running into your kid's teacher at the grocery store. And this is only after a week of school!
In addition to families from school, we are also getting to know the other folks who have stayed in town and are trying to eke out a living during the low season - the yoga teachers, the chiropractors, the surf instructors, the cheese makers, the taxi drivers. The beach serves as the local cafe, the place where you meet up and chat during your morning walks or surfing time or afternoon reading sessions or evening happy hours. People share tips on what's open and what's not, what roads are being fixed and where, whether there is fresh fish at the market. It has its appeal.
I wasn't sure how to end this post since I am late and am already thinking about the next one, so I shall leave you with this photo.
Yes, my friends, that is the skin of a 9 1/2 foot boa constrictor, displayed by our gardener, Gerardo. He found the skin underneath our house but swears the owner of the skin is not currently in residence. The skin will go into Sadie's freezer collection of dead things. We'll show it to you if you come visit.