In our post Education in Spain (part 1), we mentioned that probably, the first decision you have, regarding your child’s education, when moving to Spain is the choice to place them in a state run school or a private/International school.
In one sense, our decision making process was made more simple by the fact that both our children were born in Spain (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands), and have never lived in the UK. It is generally considered that the younger a child is, entering the Spanish education system, the better they cope.
This is not however a guarantee; the child’s character, ability and individual needs must also be taken into consideration. What was for us, in comparison, a “piece of cake” transition with our son, was a real shock to the system with our daughter.
Our son attended a private Spanish nursery part time from the age of 12 months. At age 3 he attended a French state school (during our very short attempt at “Family Life In France”!) , from age 4 he attended a state school near Velez Malaga, aged 5 he moved to Spanish state school in Mijas pueblo where, this year (2010) he has moved up into 1st year Primary (primer ciclo de educacion primaria). No doubt, some of you will be shaking your head, wondering how a child could cope with such change in his early years … I know I am his mother, but I can proudly say that he is one of the most contented, responsible and well adapted little boys I know. His school reports are the kind every caring mother hopes to receive. At aged, almost 6, he is completely bilingual , he has an in depth understanding of both the UK and Spanish culture and a thirst for more …
TIP: Many state Spanish schools offer a Summer School (escuela de verano) in July and August. This is a great way for your child to get to know some of their new classmates before the start of the new school year in September. If you are unable to check details direct with the school, try asking for information at your local social services office.
The experience with our daughter was not so smooth … Read more here about our experience of education in Spain…
Our Education in Spain page includes lots more advice and links to help you to make your decisions.