New International School for Children Opens on Panama's Pacific Coast

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish   Education, especially homeschool education, has changed significantly over the past few decades. Many parents living in foreign countries find it necessary to homeschool their children; this is the option for many expatriate families living and working in Panama especially those who have chosen to live along the Pacific Coast.  Gorgona resident Kathy Kress, an experienced international teacher, decided to open a local school for families seeking a high-quality English education with an emphasis on Panamanian culture and language.   Hence, Neuvo Gorgona is now the home of Panama Coast International School (PCIS).   Kathy’s teaching career of 25 years has included all levels of education from Kindergarten through adult education. She has been involved in four international schools. One was in China, where she was part of a group of American teachers who spent a year organizing, planning and opening a new international school.  Panama Coast International School (PCIS) is her first solo endeavor.

Currently the school has 2 teachers and 18 full and part-time students.  The students are all enrolled in online accredited programs in either the US or Canada.  Kathy plans to apply for PCIS’s accreditation within the next two years.   The school operates on the North American school year of September to June with an additional “Summer Holiday” from mid-December to the end of January. A typical day in class includes 4 hours of instruction in the morning with a 10-minute break, a 1hour lunch and play break and a 2-hour afternoon session.  The students receive instruction in English in the core subjects of Language Arts, History, Math and Science.  Lessons in Art, Music and PE are offered bilingually.

During my visit to PCIS, I found young children learning about their senses through hands-on experiments, a group of students using the internet to watch a video on chemical bonding, a student in a lounge chair reading a history textbook and taking notes on a clipboard, a pair in a hammock discussing the story they had read, and two teachers enthusiastically engaged with all the children!

PCIS is looking for volunteers to assist in its reading program; this entails reading to and listening to children read.  It also seeks foreign and Panamanian volunteers to assist with arts and culture classes.  Please write Kathy at for more information.

Up coming projects:

Kathy is working with a local school in Gorgona in a joint athletic program with PCIS. This will encourage a positive interaction between Panamanians and non-Panamanian students.

PCIS will be selling soup mixes and other items at the “Christmas Craft & Bake Sale” on November 8th from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Coronado Golf & Beach Resort.  The proceeds will benefit a local orphanage where PCIS students will be volunteering some of their free time.

In the future, evening and weekend language classes (English and Spanish) will be offered at the school for children and adults.