Curriculum and Methods

Curriculum and Standards Summary

The curriculum we have developed for elementary school is intended to provide a comprehensive, well-rounded, and bilingual educational experience for Escuela Adelante students, both Nicaraguan and foreign. Our goal is to provide the best possible bilingual education that challenges all students to grow not only academically but also socially, emotionally, and artistically.



The standards describe what content and ideas students will learn in each subject. Our standards are adopted from a variety of sources, and the standards for each topic are based on standards from a particular source. Using a variety of sources allows us to design a bilingual curriculum in accordance with international standards to prepare our students for higher education opportunities anywhere in the world.


The following are the sources for the standards for each topic:

    • Language and Literature (for native Spanish speakers): Ministry of Education, Nicaragua
    • English Language Arts (for Native English Speakers): Ministry of Education, Ontario, Canada
    • English as a Second Language: Colorado Department of Education
    • Spanish as a Second Language: Colorado Department of Education
    • Mathematics: Massachusetts Department of Education
    • Science: Next Generation Science Standards
    • Social Studies: National Council for Social Studies
    • Art: National Coalition for Common Core Standards in the Arts
    • Social/Emotional Learning: Rhode Island Department of Education



Dual Immersion Bilingual Education: Dual immersion programs teach content in both languages, in our case both in Spanish and English. Research shows that this method is more effective for acquiring a second language than learning the second language alone. In addition, all students, both Nicaraguan and foreign, will be bilingual in English and Spanish. All primary school students will 1 week in Spanish and 1 week in English, with daily blocks of language classes, one class for their first language and one class for their second language. All subjects will be taught in both Spanish and English with alternate weeks for each language. For example, one week all subjects except the mother tongue and second languages will be taught in Spanish; the following week those classes will be taught in English.


Teachers use a bilingual-bicultural approach to both take advantage of the mother tongue and develop second language skills.


Socially and culturally, we emphasize education for peace, and children and adults are consistently encouraged to be kind and courteous to one another. We use meditation, yoga, the peace table, and teacher guided discussion to resolve conflict and encourage self-reflection.

Montessori Educational Philosophy

Our preschool program is Montessori inspired. Montessori’s classroom is based on freedom, organization and the use of teaching materials that implement a mixture of the real and fantasy in order to teach the student. Age groups are formed by intellectual and emotional development. In this pedagogy sometimes students work together, often mixing ages to help each other. Thus, students interact a lot with the teacher and other students. All classroom materials and furniture are at the students’ size level. Practical life activities are fundamental to the Montessori classroom and prepare the child for all extra areas. Practical life exercises give children to fine-tune their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, hand strength, balance, concentration and ability to do things for themselves. Through the repetition of the activities of Daily Life, children practical skills that give them their whole lives.

Currently, our preschool receives all content in Spanish with 1 block of English class daily. This pull-in method of ESL works for native English speakers, as well as for speakers of other foreign languages. We aspire to build out our Montessori program through future teacher trainings, new materials and curriculum development.

Waldorf Educational Philosophy

The Waldorf methodology integrates art, language, movement, physical activity and exploration and other experiences into the educational model in order to cultivate a both the physical and spiritual desire for learning. Like the Montessori method, It focuses on inspiring the imagination and encouraging each student to find his or her own best path. It encourages taking intellectual risks, flexibility and creativity, and the assimilation of information as opposed to rote memorization. We encourage teachers to move lessons into the outdoors, and to work together with specialists to create integrated, project-based learning that can excite and inspire students to engage early on with the world around them.


Project-based learning:

Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working over an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a genuine, interesting, and complex question, problem, or challenge. Students work on a project over an extended period of time, from a week to a semester, that involves them solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product or presentation for a real audience. As a result, students develop in-depth content knowledge, as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. Project-based learning unleashes a creative and contagious energy between students and teachers.


Outdoor/Nature Focus:

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate outdoor activities and use natural objects as teaching aids in all subject areas. For example, there might be a “reading tree” that students go to when it’s time for independent reading practice. For math, students can use natural objects like rocks or leaves as manipulatives to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This helps foster a connection between children and the environment and reduce the need to purchase manufactured goods that will eventually become waste.