Las Nubes Primary School
The fourth day of our trip took us to a rural school in the community of Las Nubes, Costa Rica. Our guide, Alonso explained to our students about the free compulsory educational system in Costa Rica on the bus ride to the school visit. All children have access to a primary school from grades 1-6 in their town (no matter how small). The students will then move on to 3 more years of high school. Depending on where the students live, there could be some travel to reach the school. At the end of the 3rd year, students may chose to work full time or continue on with their education.
The town of Las Nubes has 40 families and 20 of the families have children in school. There is one teacher, Alexander, at this school. The school’s roof had been damaged due to a natural disaster last year, so classes were being held in a large hall. The Costa Rican children prepared four traditional dances that they presented to our traveling students. After the presentation, our kids taught them a couple of cheers. All students had free time after that, and the interaction between the primary students and our high school kids was so much fun to watch. At first, our students were shy and tongue-tied. By the end of the visit, they were talking, playing soccer and volleyball, teaching each other circle and clapping games and using Spanish without any adult help to make themselves understood.
From an educational point of view, this was one of the highlights of the trip. Our students, who attend a very nice & large public school in the suburbs had a first hand experience with a small rural school system. Students practiced using the language in a fairly non-threatening environment. Several of the circle and clapping games that the Costa Rican children taught our students were similar to the games our high schoolers played in elementary school or in camp except, of course, for the rhyming verses. All this opportunity to play provided our students with a sense of kinship to these Costa Rican children.