The literary arm of the European School in Heredia launched another book Tuesday night. It is the third of six that are planned.
The book is “La Cueva de los Cuentos,” an anthology for the third grade that its author says can be incorporated into any school curriculum or home reading program. The publisher is La Jirafa y Yo.
School founder and director Anne Señol Aronson said she created La Jirafa y Yo for the purpose of publishing “books for learning,” a collection of literature in Spanish that is both accessible and meaningful to Costa Rican children in the primary and elementary grades. Ms. Señol writes original stories to include with carefully selected classic literature, Costa Rican folklore and other original pieces contributed by a staff of Costa Rican authors. Colorful illustrations by artists Hector Gamboa and Olga Anaskina are integrated into the anthologies.
Ms. Señol founded the European School 21 years ago with the vision to produce students who are “balanced, strong human beings with values.” She said she bases her educational philosophy on the teachings of Krishna Murti and patterns the school curriculum after the Waldorf method. Although the school is well-known for its focus on bilingual education and its success in graduating all students with the international baccalaureate diploma, Ms. Señol said she believes that English is “just a tool, nothing more.”
“Education is about something different,” which is encompassed in the humanities, she said. The school curriculum concentrates in the subject areas of history, geography and the arts. For example, the sixth grade course of study focuses on the history, geography and art of Africa.
La Jirafa y Yo has a mission to uplift Costa Rican education, which up until now has suffered from a lack of quality literature in Spanish that reflects and supports its own unique culture, according to Ms. Señol. Achieving this mission has been a slow process so far, she said, but she has had meetings with the education ministry to offer the anthologies for use in the public schools. Said Ms. Señol, the publishing branch of the European School is “the social responsibility of the school,” and is not for profit.
Since its beginnings 21 years ago, the European School has grown to around 500 students and has an attractive, expansive campus in San Pablo de Heredia. Ms. Señol came to Costa Rica more than 25 years ago and has raised five children with husband, Steven Aronson, founder of the Cafe Britt coffee company.