Since its founding in 1976, Escuela Lomas Altas has been an international school defined by the ethnic pluralism of its student, teacher and administrative population. It has been under the present ownership since 1986 when it was moved to its current location.
The need to meet the demands of our diverse population has been a priority throughout the existence of the school, requiring the dedication and persistence of a team of highly-trained professionals. The scaffolding of our dynamic and evolving curriculum builds on and strengthens skills of communication and social aptitude.
Our philosophy is centered on the application of an inquiry-based curriculum. This allows students to discover the world within themselves through the study of academic subjects, acquisition of socially approved behaviour and the development of cooperative skills, self-motivation and competition within themselves.
Our approach to this philosophy is immersion in academic subjects, research-based coursework and the promotion of sociable behaviour. This allows for the development of skills that enable students to work cooperatively, meet deadlines, perform well on assessments and, most importantly, to become aware of their learning process. We are strong advocates of encouragement, even at the earliest stages of academic development, thereby promoting self-motivation, working in one’s own style and pace, and the measurement of success by individualised standards.
Escuela Lomas Altas is a private institution whose mission it is to provide students with the skills, concepts and attitudes necessary for their integral development. We shape the lives of lifelong learners with an international mindset in a globalised world.
Our inquiry-based curriculum validates students’ prior knowledge, capitalises on children’s curiosity and fulfills their desire to take an active role in their own learning, granting free rein to their creativity. The teacher is regarded as a facilitator, recognising individual learning styles, adjusting and creating activities to accommodate these nuances. We believe that learning should be fun and is most effective in a highly personalised environment. To achieve the latter, we have chosen to remain a small school, allowing for individualised attention for all students through a 1:6 teacher student ratio.
We have three main goals:
Children who are captivated by a body of knowledge will find its assimilation stimulating and will rise to the challenge of its acquisition.
When academic material is presented with methods that engage student minds and senses, a sustained learning pattern is developed. An arena is created in which the child has a voice in the construction of new ideas and his/her background and prior knowledge becomes validated. The teacher in this sense assumes the role of facilitator, as the students promote development of knowledge relevant to them and to their physical and social environment.
At Escuela Lomas Altas, the classrooms are hives of activity where students work and learn with, and from, each other alongside their teachers. They learn by doing, actively engaging in and ascribing meaning through analysis, collaboration and investigation.
An overriding comment of those who visit our classrooms is, “They’re all having so much fun!” The fact that learning is taking place is evident. Often these same visitors are heard to bemoan, “Why wasn’t it like this when I was in school?”
The commitment to this principle is amply evidenced by the simple fact that we have refused to expand, despite outside pressures to do so. We feel that bigger is not better because it only stands to reason that the larger the institution, the more impersonal it becomes.
While student numbers remain stable at each group level, the quantity of trained educators continues to increase. This is the only way that a bilingual school can truly contend it is meeting the needs of all of its learners. Currently, the most striking example of this is our individualised reading program where children work individually with reading specialists at least three times a week. Each student’s progress in the myriad reading skills is closely monitored in both English and Spanish.
From Kinder I to First Grade, students also receive the personalised attention of a handwriting specialist, who works either individually or in small groups with the children. Educators from other schools have marveled when they see Kinder 3 students sitting in correct posture, manipulating their pencils confidently and producing cursive writing which is both neat and legible.
Teachers’ aides are assigned at every level in the Preschool and their contribution to the educational environment is invaluable. They are competent, flexible and demonstrate true affection for the children. Whether enabling group projects or working individually with students who are either below their level in certain skills or those who require extension activities to keep them challenged, they provide an essential link in the network of individualisation.
Many schools boast a family-like atmosphere, but few can do it with as much self-assurance as Escuela Lomas Altas. Ideals, attitudes and values have to be modeled, not just talked about. The continuous presence, participation and enthusiasm of Miss Jackie and our leadership team from the morning lineup bell to the afternoon dismissal underscores the message of her educators to each and every one of our students. “You are valued, respected and an integral part of our extended family.”
This belief goes hand-in-hand with our school-wide policy of individualised education. Parental involvement is not only essential but also enriching to the child’s learning atmosphere and experiences. We realise the challenge this represents in today’s world, where often children are raised by two working parents. We, as a school, work with our parents by attempting to be as flexible and innovative as we can to assure that they experience their integral role in their child’s educational development. Fortnightly self-assessments are sent home for the parents to sign and, hopefully, add any comments or observations. When specific concerns arise, either on the part of the parents, the teachers, the school psychologist or the principal, a meeting is immediately scheduled to address them. These meetings, in which the teachers, principal (and sometimes the student) are present, are solution-oriented. This forum, allowing us to sit down, talk face-to-face, voice our concerns and negotiate positive outcomes, has produced extremely effective results.
We love to have parents come in as guest speakers to share their expertise, or simply come in to read with them. Children will always be assigned an individual reading book, both in Spanish and in English allowing for almost immediate results in the student confidence and fluency. We try to promote school-home connections through homework activities and research projects which involve parents. The quantity of didactic materials that have poured in from parents to enrich our Units of Inquiry is astonishing and inspiring to all of us involved in the children’s learning experiences.
As part of the IB programme a learner profile is fostered in our students and throughout the school’s community. A PYP student must show the following traits:
Inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, and reflective.
As part of our school’s policy, discipline is inherent to our standards and beliefs. We encourage students to reflect upon their behavior and respect rules due to their own personal commitment and understanding.
We are a certified, official IB World School. Both our preschool and primary develop curriculum as outlined by requirements of the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization.
Both our Preschool and our Primary are incorporated into the local government’s official programme, the SEP (Secretaría de Educación Pública). National and International students are entitled to free textbooks that support their learning process.