The History of TIDE Academy

We are back! It has been a fantastic holiday and we are all excited to be back at TIDE Academy for another term.  Over the break I thought a lot about how TIDE Academy has become what it is today. It’s been quite a ride for the school. TIDE Academy has had several locations, many families and currently has 60 students who range from numerous countries. But it hasn’t always been the TIDE Academy we see today. How exactly has TIDE Academy evolved into the school it is today?

The Founder and Director of TIDE Academy is Chelsea Lisaius. Chelsea started the school in 2011 with only 3 students. This is truly a school that has been build from the ground up. Prior to starting the school, Chelsea was a teacher in the Tamarindo area and soon realized there was a need to accommodate children and parents with alternative lifestyles. She noticed that children from other schools were penalised for leaving school to compete in sports, travel with family and develop skills outside of school. Growing up as a competitive athlete and having a father who owned a traveling theatre company, Chelsea spent a lot of time outside of school as well. Chelsea knew that learning outside of the classroom was just as important as the learning that took place in the classroom.

Chelsea quickly realized there was a need to provide flexible and personized education for families who thought the same. Her school mission was formed, and TIDE Academy was ready to soar.

TIDE Academy started in Chelsea’s backyard with 3 students. Chelsea never believed in paying for advertising and always thought that word of mouth would draw in the right people from the community. By the end of the second year Chelsea was up to 12 students and decided to get a space for her school outside her home. Since then, TIDE Academy has gone from the Garden Plaza to the Tamarindo Business Center, where she stayed for three years, until finding the schools current location across from La Marimba.

TIDE community is pleased with the current location and continues to add new additions to the location such as: air-conditioned rooms, many new walls, library shelves, and an expanding playground (thanks to Moses). With future possibility of moving classes upstairs and the proximity to the beach, for Surf Academy, this makes our current location a favorite for parents, students and staff. Of course, a school is more than a building and TIDE Academy is rooted in remaining true to its vision and mission.

While growing and adapting TIDE over the past eight years there have also been many changes in Chelsea’s life as well. Along the way Chelsea has married Steven (Surf Academy Co-founder), started Circuito Guanacasteco de Surf, purchased a home in Playa Grande and became a mother to the 2037 TIDE graduate baby Coco  (Our cutest team member). Oh, and we can’t forget Moxie.

Moxie, Chelsea’s dog, has been along since the second year of the school and can be seen perusing the classrooms. Moxie enjoys belly rubs, napping and mostly… food: looking at food, smelling your food, stealing your food and finding your food. Some things never change, and Moxie is one of them.

Exciting Additions

There have been many new things popping up at TIDE Academy. This ranges from classroom and playground improvements including the new library shelves, air-conditioned classrooms, a ping pong table, a salmon ladder for our Ninja Warrior course and more. We are very pleased with the progress of the school and are looking forward to continually adding to the physical features of the school. Although these upgrades are incredibly exciting, the most wonderful additions coming in January are not the building’s upgrades but the new staff members joining our team. We are delighted to announce two new staff members, Jaime and Alisa who will be joining us at TIDE Academy.


Who is Jaime?

Jaime is a certified TEFL and ELE (Teaching Spanish as a foreign language) teacher. Jaime acquired his Bachelor of Arts in International Communications and Media Management in Holland. Jaime has worked in Holland, Spain and Costa Rica. Jaime is fluent in both English and Spanish and has plenty of experience monitoring and evaluating Spanish A1- C1 levels.


Jaime prides himself on building strong, respectful relationships with students in order to engage them in meaningful learning experience. His experience working in Spain, Holland and in Tamarindo have provided him with a deep understanding of working with students from diverse cultural backgrounds who have different language requirements. Jaime’s organizational abilities and capability to deliver material in a fun and memorable way made him a desirable addition to the team. We have been working with Jaime for some time to attain his bright personality and knowledge here at TIDE Academy. We are very pleased to announce his arrival.


Who is Alisa?

Alisa is a veteran teacher who comes to us with over 20 years of experience.  Alisa acquired her Bachelor of Education at the University of Western Ontario and has taught in South Korea and Canada, with a strong background in early years. She has training in ESL/ELD (English Literacy Development) and many additional qualifications in ESL training and Special Education. Alisa will be joining us in Grade 1/2 as the English, Math, Science and Social Studies teacher.

She is passionate about building critical learning skills and using inquiry-based learning to achieve outcomes. She plans to focus on sustainabilityand global communities through inquiry and project-based learning. She will achieve this by building students question asking abilities and critical thinking skills. We are thrilled to have her personality, years of experience and philosophy of education joining TIDE Academy.


Fortunately, due to the addition of Alisa we now have some spaces available in Grade 1 and 2. For those who are interested in joining Alisa’s team in grade 1, please contact TIDE Academy for more details.



Education Connections

One of the wonderful parts of working at an alternative school is the connections that you make with other like-minded programs. We are so grateful to have developed relationships with universities and schools that celebrate TIDE Academy’s vision and mission.  We are very excited to be collaborating with Arizona State University, THINK Global School and Niagara College.

Arizona State University

One of those education connections is with Arizona State University.  The Global Intensive Experience program is offered to undergraduate teacher assistants pursuing careers in health care and education. This Global Intensive Experience focuses on students who are interested in sharing their knowledge in STEM subjects. They will be doing this through a mentored teaching experience at TIDE Academy.Students from Arizona State University hope to gain insight into how scientific concepts are viewed from different cultures from their own.  We look forward to hosting and collaborating with ASU students in March 2019.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It can be integrated and includes a wide variety of subjects. The interdisciplinary approach brings in everyday concepts of the students’ lives into an active learning environment.  

THINK Global School

THINK Global School is a traveling high school where students learn and visit 4 countries in a year. Their philosophy is to make unforgettable connections between their education and the world around them, making Global Studies truly global. Students truly have no borders and connect their education to the environment they are in. THINK Global is for students who never stop asking questions, strive for learning in diverse environments. Like TIDE, students have a small teacher to student ratio and understand that school is a part of the students broader lived curriculum.

Students will be visiting TIDE Academy on the 14th and 15th of February after their time surfing in Nosara. They will be working with the Surf Academy using video analysis of the students. They will use this to provide feedback for Surf Academy students and our surfers will do the same. Students will be able to talk surfing, build some new skills, create friendships and learn more about the THINK Global program.

While here students will be attending in the CGS surf competition on February 16thwhich is run by Chelsea. Mark it in your calendar to come out and meet these dynamic students and share in the surf competition. Check out the website for more info:

Niagara College

Starting in 2020 Niagara College will be working with TIDE Academy to partner for teachers’ internships. Students attending the college will be practicing their internships here at TIDE Academy. This offers TIDE Academy foreign educators who bring with them new teaching practices and materials. Our lead teachers will be able to collaborate with other professionals and allows them to give more 1-1 attention to the students in their class. Niagara College toured multiple schools last year and we are pleased that they have chosen to collaborate with TIDE Academy in their upcoming program.


The Library

The Library


We have a library!  Mike (one of the seniors) and I have become a bit invested in the school library. Thankfully, our online library system Booksource has helped us organize and categorize all the new books. It has been a shared project among the upper years students and we are excited to improve it in the upcoming months.


It really has been a community effort with the Library. Mike and ZJ have uploaded all the new books into the library system. ZJ has rapidly divided our fiction and non-fiction books as well as our Spanish books. A variety of students have helped to label all the new books and Zoe has organized and divided all the early years leveled reading books. We now have all our middle years and elementary grade books color coded and separated from our upper years books.   


With our leveled reading books categorized, students are now able to find books that more efficiently suit their level. We have also began signing out books for students. It has been wonderful  to see the students exploring the different books in the library and using the space around the library to read.


It has also been excited to see the ownership of the library slowly evolve. Jacob has been busy going through all the teacher resource books and stacking shelves and Eloise is working on adding an artistic touch to the area.  

What can you expect next?

  •      New book shelves
  •      Reading level assessments
  •      1-1 reading with long-term students
  •      Guided reading groups grades 1-6
  •      Community Internship students reading to the younger grades.

How can you help?

We are always looking to add to our collection of books. Current areas we would like to see the library grow in are our non-fiction early years books and early year Spanish books. If you have any of these extra books around, please stop in and deliver them to the school office.

A special thank you to Mike, who has been a tremendous help with the some of the tedious tasks that can come with making a library.