The Core of Education: Educarte’s Electives Spark Learning.  Throughout the world, interest in “elective” educational options is being overridden by a stronger focus on core subjects like math, reading and science. Many educational programs “teach towards the test,” emphasizing that students must be able to not only pass, but also excel at, standardized or college entrance exams. This comes at a time when STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is the way of the future, but also at a cost. Today, more and more students globally are entering higher education with no real direction, spending years in what many experience as an endless loop of education funk.

When most people consider moving to Costa Rica with their children, there is a huge concern about the quality of education. But it is not the relatively limited scope of education mentioned above. Instead, most are seeking educationally enriched days full of activities, play and socialization that are often missing in schools back home. Parents recognize that pursuits such as art, music, theater and sports are at the center of developing a well-rounded citizen of the world. One school in the Guanacaste area, Educarte, is committed to children developing their own core values, talents and learning styles. While cycling through a variety of classes that are sadly becoming obsolete in many countries, Educarte students are offered electives to enhance their experiences.

Electives part of standard curriculum

Each week, students receive at least one hour of instruction — if not two hours— in art, music, swimming and physical education. These not only complement the so-called core classes, but are actually considered part of Educarte’s standard curriculum. In addition, students also take elective classes on a monthly basis.

The idea is quite simple. Each month, all the students at Educarte sit down with their teacher and decide what workshops (taller in Spanish) or electives they want. This begins in first grade and runs through high school, when teens benefit from having greater control in pursuing a chosen academic path. Students attend one-hour sessions in their selected taller twice a week. Talleres can be similar to other regular classes such as soccer, crafts or Educarte band. Others may fully be expanded in multifaceted disciplines ranging from healthy food cooking and collaborative games to Math Club, drama and origami.

The taller program is loosely based on psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI). Gardner believed in eight intelligences or ways of learning. Using and strengthening these intelligences helps each student develop new skills and learning techniques. Most children have a dominant intelligence, with a secondary one supporting their learning path. Educarte’s approach in offering talleres focuses on these eight intelligences. Educators here believe that their students will not only open up their learning capabilities but also find new activities and friends they enjoy.

Favorite ways to learn and enjoy

With each taller they complete, month by month, individual students not only understand more about how they learn best, but also what they enjoy. This translates to the classroom setting, where teachers are equipped with many tools to help the students learn in different ways such as visual, auditive and/or hands-on instruction.

Within the teaching discipline, schools ideally seek ways that fit children’s intrinsic needs. Educarte strives to achieve this simply through a multilingual education that promotes civic responsibility, emotional wellness and learning adeptness. The taller program is offering kids choices, developing skills and discovering new talents.

To find out more about Educarte, email or call (506) 2653-6363.

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