Saint Paul School & College in San Antonio de Belen (fifteen minutes from San Jose) was founded in 1982 by an American woman from Baltimore who remains the Principal.

The school has a reputation for academic excellence and is always amongst the top five schools in the country when it comes time for examinations.

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I met with Marta Eugenia Aviles, a very distinguished looking woman who has been happily teaching at the school for seventeen years. Amongst many other students, Marta teaches Kathryn who is the daughter of a very special lady friend of mine.

Most of the private schools in Costa Rica stick to either the Costa Rica schedule which runs from February through November or the the American school year schedule which runs from August through to May. Saint Paul’s is on the Costa Rican schedule.

The school for the younger children and the college for the older students are located in separate complexes on opposite sides of the street. Saint Paul’s pride themselves on teaching their children a well rounded philosophy including good academic skills, moral values and extensive physical activities.

One thing that brought a smile to my face when I read it was the sign on the wall in one of the classrooms for twelve year olds which stated that the children should:

  • Speak English
  • Show Respect
  • Raise Your Hand To Participate
  • Keep Your Class Clean
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Honest & Loyal
  • Be a Good Friend
  • Smile
  • Love Yourself First
  • Love God and Be Happy

The school includes many physical activities in the curriculum. They have two basketball courts and a volleyball court on the property, a swimming pool, track field and three soccer fields and have competed in numerous national and international tournaments.

Saint Paul’s has a comprehensive computer studies program and plenty of new computer equipment so that each child can work at his or her own station.

Although Saint Paul’s prides itself on it’s Catholic structure, it does not force this religious education on the few non-Catholics in the school. During religious studies a non-Catholic child can spend time in the library, (always under supervision) reading or doing homework.

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There are 1,700 students in the school. Most of which are Catholic, although there are a handful of Seventh Day Adventists and some Jewish children.

From a demographic standpoint, the Central Valley area around San Jose is primarily a ‘white’ area, you will find the vast majority of the country’s African American community living on the East coast of the country and at present, there is only one African American child in the whole school.

Each month the children study a different ‘moral value’ and all students participate in the community service program. Each grade helps a different group, one could be helping the elderly, another grade helping orphans and they also teach the less fortunate children in the area to read.

The children raise money for charitable purposes but, there’s a stipulation as to where that money must come from, the money must come from doing work that they have been paid to do and not just ‘begging’ a donation from their parents.

The school is secure, clean, well maintained with a full time Doctor and Nurse on the premises. The teachers are all highly qualified (including one teacher from Nebraska) and the class size is never more than 25 students.

With their emphasis on sports, moral values, cultural expression with music, art, dance combined with superb academic reputation, the school is turning out some remarkable, fully bilingual young people and for that reason, it is one of the most popular schools in the area.

The comprehensive website for the school is all in Spanish but you have to start practicing some day right?

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Finding Your Perfect Home Near A Good School in Costa Rica

If you are serious about buying or renting a home in this area west of San Jose and would like to hire an experienced real estate professional who can point out the best private schools to you then, then please telephone our Recommended Realtor Mayra Clavería de Oliver on 506 8893-6262 or, contact Mayra using the simple form below:

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