Atenas Preschool y Escuela Colina Azul (APS y ECA) is a private, non-profit, non-denominational, preschool to 6th grade school.  The enrollment consists of students primarily from Costa Rica, USA, Canada and Europe.

The campus is located in Atenas, approximately 25 km from Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, on a beautiful mountainside site with a view over Los Angeles de Atenas.

Atenas Preschool (3-5 year olds) was founded in 1994 by Mirthala Jenkins and Rocío Quesada. Mirthala, the Director of APS y ECA has over 45 years experience in early childhood/elementary education.  She meets the highest quality standard with a Montessori Teaching Certificate. Rocío, the Director of elementary Grades 1-6, is a Costa Rica-certified early childhood/elementary teacher with additional certification in elementary administration. Together they understand what works to produce effective results in offering an excellent education.

With our rich, cultural mix, APS y ECA places the importance on helping our students become better global citizens. The major curriculum is taught in Spanish, while English is taught with classes in Grammar, Reading/Writing and Speaking every day. Age-appropriate computer activity programs are used to reinforce English vocabulary and conversation. The English program is designed to prepare students for academic work in English as a Second Language. It is further reinforced by the International Student teachers program under the direction of Dr. Dian Dudderar.

Dr. Dian Dudderar, Ph.D., is the Director of International Teacher Internships. She joined the partnership in 1998 adding English as a Second Language (ESL) and the teacher internship program.  Dr. Dudderar’s background includes over 45 years of teaching in early childhood education programs, pre K-12th grade teacher education. She holds a certificate as a professor with an advance masters degree in educational curriculum and instruction, and a doctorate degree in school change and educational innovation.

One of the unique aspects of the bilingual program at APS y ECA is the International Teacher Internship Program through Global Gateway for Teachers at Indiana University, USA. Dr. Dian Dudderar is the Consultant and Coordinator for Global Gateway in Costa Rica. It is a program that provides student teachers an invaluable intercultural immersion experience while fulfilling their student teacher requirements. APS y ECA is a placement site for international teacher interns, with a teacher intern rotation approximately every 8 -10 weeks.

The teacher interns are responsible for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), Computer Communications and Science with ESL integration. They follow the school’s ESL curriculum with the guidance and mentoring from the school’s regular ESL teachers and Dr. Dudderar.

The bilingual program offers the children the opportunity to have interactions with primary English speakers for the enhancement of word pronunciation and English verbal inflections for reading and conversation.

APS y ECA is incorporated in the USA under appropriate federal and state statutes, under the name of Costa Rica Kids Environmental Education Foundation, Inc. It is a nonprofit, non-discriminating organization. The purpose of the CRKEEF is to provide educational and financial support for children of all cultures, physical abilities, social status and ethnic groups in Costa Rica.