More Than A School

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Curriculum

Conchita Espinosa Academy provides children with a complete education, which extends beyond traditional schooling, in order to create well-rounded, whole individuals.

Conchita Espinosa’s method of education was based on her belief in the power of the arts to transform, enhance, and stimulate young minds. The integration of the arts and traditional academic subjects continues to be the core of the school’s curriculum today. 

Throughout the school day, character education takes place, and students are engaged in an environment that fosters the development of self-discipline, respect for self and other, and empathy.

  • EARLY CHILDHOOD
  • LOWER SCHOOL
  • UPPER SCHOOL
  • ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
  • WORLD LANGUAGES
  • DREAMS
  • THE ARTS
  • DISTANCE LEARNING

Early Childhood Program (K-3, K-4, and K-5)

Our early childhood program provides students with the opportunity to develop the natural curiosity and sense of wonder inherent in all children. We work to create experiences that enhance intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth while honoring the unique time in life known as childhood. Students are introduced to the delight of school through music, art, science, dance, and language in an environment fostering cooperation, independence, and creativity, setting the foundation for the years to follow in elementary and middle school. Learning through play is essential to each day.

Grades 1-4

Through a solid academic curriculum, lower school students at Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) acquire the necessary skills and knowledge allowing them to grow. Our curriculum encompasses more than the standard format of reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science. The integration of the arts into all academic areas promotes the students’ ability to understand abstract concepts, make connections between areas of study, and find applications of lessons to their daily lives, enhancing their preparation for the coming upper school years.

Grades 5-8

Upper school is the culmination of the eleven-year process students experience at CEA. Our upper school is uniquely designed to meet the challenges of the early teen years. Students are provided the necessary continuity, structure, and security required for a successful transition from childhood to adolescence. Our strong and demanding academic curriculum coupled with an emphasis on developing organizational skills, time management, study skills, and social skills prepares students for success in future academic careers and life endeavors within a co-educational environment. Critical thinking, problem solving, resourcefulness, discourse, creativity, and development of individual passions are at the heart of all classes. During these years students continue to use their linguistic abilities in both English and Spanish to communicate ideas and dreams.

 

The Role of Technology

We believe in technology working for man,
not man for technology.

We recognize that children need to learn through engaging activities and developmentally appropriate lessons that stimulate the five senses. At CEA, technology is integrated into the educational process to enhance active learning, not to replace it.

Every classroom features an interactive whiteboard and our teachers are trained on how to properly implement technology throughout their curriculum. iPads and laptops are available to all students. Starting in 6th grade, our Upper School features a 1:1 iPad program, specifically designed to foster creativity, problem solving, and digital citizenship. Applications are used for a large variety of purposes including composing music, researching information, creating presentations, and making deeper connections with their learning.

In 2014, CEA served as a national model for the success of its technology integration program when Lynda Hastings, former Technology Curriculum Director at CEA was invited to present a session at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) 2014, an international conference that brings education leaders and technology experts together to exchange techniques and strategies for teaching and learning success. In 2015, CEA returned to FETC, when our current Educational Technology Coordinator, Christina Gonzalez, presented a workshop on supporting an interactive curriculum based on her work in the classroom with iPad initiatives that launched at CEA in Fall 2013.

Digital media and technology is evolving at a dizzying pace, bringing with it extraordinary opportunities, but also real risks for our children. For this reason, students need a roadmap to guide them. CEA has partnered with Common Sense Media to implement their Digital Citizenship Program. The curriculum shapes our children’s minds to think critically about how they treat others in this fast-paced digital world, and they learn to use the Internet in legal, ethical, and responsible ways. The program emphasizes skill building, critical thinking, decision-making, and implements a balanced approach that teaches students to celebrate the positive aspects of digital life, while avoiding its potential perils. Upper School students (grades 5th-8th) complete the program independently during their summer break. Students must complete the program every summer in order to receive their iPads upon their return to school in August. Lower school students are taught digital citizenship in an age-appropriate curriculum in the classroom throughout the year.

pdf Acceptable Use of Technology


21st Century School
by Lynda Hastings, M. Ed.

Here is a link to Ms. Hastings’ iBook, which illustrates the various activities in which CEA utilizes technology to enhance the learning experience from the Early Childhood through the Middle School levels.


World Languages

There are two main reasons behind the introduction of a second/foreign language (i.e., Spanish) in primary classrooms. The first is the belief that 'the younger the better', the idea that young children are intrinsically better language learners, and will therefore become more proficient more quickly. The second is that, in an increasingly globalized world, intercultural competence is essential, and that it is important to awaken children's interests in other people and cultures at a time when they are open and receptive. Additionally, early exposure to a rich language environment is critical for English Language Learners' (ELL) academic success. More recent findings are based on the cognitive advantages that learning a second/foreign language or languages promotes enhanced problem-solving, attentional control or ability to switch tasks, and the claim that it facilitates literacy in English.

Spanish as a Second/Foreign Language

The Spanish Language at CEA offers a continuum of instruction from the early years (3-year olds) through 8th grade (14-year olds).  The program utilizes "best practices" methodologies to ensure that students throughout the school become competent listeners, speakers, readers, and writers of Spanish.  In addition, linguistic competence must include the ability to function in the two cultures with equal ease.

For over 17 years, CEA has and continues to benefit from a collaborative relationship with Spain's Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional (enlace). Each year "Auxiliares de Conversación" travel from Spain to work with the Academy's existing Spanish language faculty, aiding and enhancing the program's efforts to become truly bilingual.

Spanish as a Second Language (ELE)

The Institution

Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) opens in the United States in 1963. Exile caused a flow of people who had Spanish as their mother tongue. However, since 2000, the teaching of Spanish changes from being a mother tongue to being a foreign/second language (ELE). In other words, CEA starts teaching Spanish as a foreign language on purpose, being the main aim to keep and develop the methodology under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR, o MCER in Spanish) standard, which measures the comprehension, written and oral expression level of a learner of a language.

Teacher’s profiles

As we continue our efforts and commitment to teaching and developing the Spanish as a Foreign Language, some CEA´s teachers have already finished with success the training courses to be official examiners for administrating the DELE exams in the levels A1 Schooler and A2/B1 Schooler. The DELE Schooler training courses were undertaken by the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque, in United States. Our aim is to become center DELE in order to provide:

• International recognition diplomas in Spanish to our students

• Promotion of academic programs across an international network

The Spanish language program is an integral and required part of the academic curriculum at CEA.  All students of the Academy are scheduled for their classes and there is no additional cost for participation in the program.

French Language Program

As a part of CEA's commitment, growth and vision to prepare our students to be global citizens, CEA has extended the Language program to include French. The French Language program is an after-school program designed for students in 3rd through 8th grades who have demonstrated a high proficiency and competence in Spanish. Classes are held twice a week, and are limited to a maximum of ten students per class.

Hay dos razones principales detrás de la introducción de una segunda lengua (español) en las clases de primaria. La primera, es la creencia de que "cuanto más pequeños, mejor". Esta es la idea de que los niños son intrínsecamente mejores aprendiendo idiomas, por lo que serán más competentes en menor tiempo. La segunda, es que en un mundo de globalización en aumento, la habilidad intercultural es esencial, por lo tanto es importante despertar el interés de los niños en otras personas y culturas en un periodo donde están receptivos. Además, una exposición temprana a un entorno de lenguaje rico es fundamental para el éxito académico de los Estudiantes de Lengua Inglesa (ELL). Recientes descubrimientos están basados en las ventajas cognitivas que tiene aprender una segunda lengua o lenguas fomentando la mejora en la resolución de problemas, en el control atencional y en la habilidad para cambiar de tareas, también afirman que facilita la alfabetización en inglés.

Español como Segunda Lengua/Lengua Extranjera

La lengua española en CEA ofrece una enseñanza continua desde la edad temprana (3 años de edad)  hasta octavo curso (14 años de edad). El programa emplea métodos de las mejores prácticas para asegurar que los estudiantes a lo largo de los años de colegio se convierten en oyentes, hablantes, lectores y escritores de español competentes. Además, la competencia lingüística debe incluir la habilidad de funcionar en ambas culturas con la misma facilidad.

Por más de 17 años, CEA se ha estado y continúa beneficiándose de una colaboración con el Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional español. Cada año “Auxiliares de Conversación” vienen desde España para trabajar con el profesorado de idiomas de la Academia, ayudando y aumentando los esfuerzos del programa para convertirnos en completamente bilingües.

Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE)

El Centro

Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) abre sus puertas en Estados Unidos en 1963. El exilio produjo un flujo de población que poseía el español como lengua materna. No obstante, a partir del 2000, la enseñanza del español cambia de español como lengua primera a español como lengua extranjera (ELE).  En otras palabras, CEA inicia la actividad de ELE intencionalmente, siendo el propósito fundamental mantener y desarrollar la enseñanza del español bajo el estándar que propone el Marco Común Europeo de Referencia para las lenguas: aprendizaje, enseñanza, evaluación​ (MCER, o CEFR en inglés), que sirve para medir el nivel de comprensión y expresión oral y escrita en una determinada lengua).

Perfil de los profesores


Así como continuamos nuestros esfuerzos y compromiso con la enseñanza y el desarrollo del español como Lengua Extranjera, algunos de los profesores de CEA ya han terminado satisfactoriamente sus cursos de formación para ser examinadores oficiales de los exámenes DELE en los niveles A1 y A2/B1 de escolares. Los cursos de formación de dichos niveles fueron llevados a cabo por el Instituto Cervantes de Albuquerque, en los Estados Unidos. Nuestro objetivo es convertirnos en un centro DELE para proveer:

• Diplomas con reconocimiento internacional en español para nuestros estudiantes

• Promocionar programas académicos a lo largo de una red internacional

El programa de lengua española es una parte integral y requerida del plan de estudios académico de CEA. Todos los estudiantes de la Academia están concertados para sus clases y no hay ningún costo adicional por participar en el programa.

Programa de Francés

Como parte del compromiso, crecimiento y visión que tiene CEA para preparar a nuestros estudiantes a ser ciudadanos del mundo, hemos extendido el programa de Lenguas para incluir francés. El programa de francés es extraescolar, diseñado para alumnos desde tercero hasta octavo curso que han demostrado un buen dominio y capacidad en español. Las clases son dos días a la semana con un máximo de diez alumnos.

 

DREAMS

Leaders for the 21st century must have the ability to communicate clearly, think critically, analyze and evaluate, and create and design all aspects of their lives.  Our DREAMS classes (Dance, Religion, Español, Art, Music, and Sports) help us meet these goals for our children.

Through the arts (music, dance, visual arts), students are afforded multiple opportunities to fine tune their judgment, to create, and stretch their senses.  In religion we address our needs as human beings to explore our spiritual selves.  PE and fitness allow students to strengthen their bodies and understand the connection of body and mind.  And, of course, our global society requires we have the ability to communicate with the rest of the world, which is why a second language is imperative.  Our Spanish classes enhance our ability to communicate clearly, not only in Spanish but also in English as we improve vocabulary and discover links between languages.

In short, our DREAMS classes are at the core of our curriculum and are woven into all aspects of life at CEA.

The Arts

At CEA, the visual and performing arts are an important part of the curriculum.  Not only because of their intrinsic value, but because the arts serve as an important conduit to learning important life skills.  Human beings need creativity to feel fulfilled.  Participation in the arts forces an individual to approach tasks from various perspectives and encourages individuals to take risks and “think outside the box.”  Whether it’s learning a new musical composition, or expressing an emotion through dance or a self-portrait, every child is given the opportunity to express unique aspects of him or herself through the arts, thus providing an outlet for expression of their inner world.  This ability helps children to acquire the confidence, strength and perseverance necessary to finding one’s element and niche in an ever expanding world of opportunity. 

Not only effective in increasing self-knowledge and awareness, the arts further strengthen skills necessary to work effectively with others.  Skills such as collaboration, accountability and the taking in of constructive criticism are key skills learned through participation in the arts.  A composer can compose a beautiful symphony, but if musicians do not work together in their interpretation and mastery of the notes, we would be unable to hear and enjoy the symphony.  An openness to recognizing the role of all involved in the development and mastery of an art form, provides children with an openness to the fundamental interconnectedness of life.

 

Distance Learning

“Children need to move, they need to sing, they need to create – these are the things
that maintain our humanity, and this is needed more than ever in times of crisis.”

For over 86 years, CEA has prepared students to be educated, cultured, and kind citizens who are empowered to look for the best in others and themselves and are shaped into young men and women who actively make a positive difference in the world by being true to their beliefs, talents and interests.  Transferring these values to a virtual space and maintaining the essence of our mission has been a critical priority for the success of distance learning at CEA amidst the COVID-19 crisis that forced schools nationwide to close their buildings. 

Unforeseen circumstances challenged us to adopt a growth mindset and think innovatively – how do we offer our students a sense of normalcy, maintain our educational objectives, while transferring learning to an online platform? The fostering of human connection, particularly student-teacher and peer relationships, are at the core of CEA’s philosophy, thus the school believes that all students should have a degree of face-to-face interaction, daily check-ins and space for dialogue and discussion for all subjects (including the arts and physical education), or we would not be fulfilling the mission we have promised our families.

CEA Distance Learning offers students a hybrid approach to virtual learning through a balance between synchronous (face-to-face) and asynchronous (independent work) sessions for all grades from pre-school to the 8th grade, while being mindful of the developmental ability to remain engaged during screen time of each age and grade level, in conjunction with engaging assignments to extend their learning beyond the classroom.

 

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Conchita Espinosa Academy, 12975 SW 6th Street, Miami, FL 33184, Office: 305-227-1149, Fax: 305-225-0184

Conchita Espinosa Academy is accredited internationally, nationally and regionally by Accreditation International (AI), National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), National Independent Private Schools Association (NIPSA) , the Middle States Association (MSA), COGNIA (previously SACS/AdvancEd), and the Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF). We are also members of the Independent Schools of South Florida (ISSF).

 


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