In our previous post Education in Spain (Our Story I), we told of how smoothly our eldest son adapted to changes. Our daughter however, appears to have suffered more due to the changes in her young life.
At the age of 15 months, she eventually adapted to private Spanish nursery in Velez Malaga. An attempt to start the Spanish state nursery in Mijas pueblo, 10 months later, ended after 2 weeks of non-stop tears and an unrecognisable little girl! In no way do I mean to criticise the Spanish state nurseries, however, the noise levels and general mayhem on entering and leaving the establishment made my decision to go elsewhere a very easy one. As I mentioned earlier, each child’s needs are very different and we recognised our daughter’s need for a more quiet and controlled environment.
On recommendation from a friend, she started a private bilingual nursery in Fuengirola and, much to our relief, by day 2 she was walking in happily … at last, we had our happy little girl back!
In September 2010, she has started the state school in Mijas pueblo. During the parents pre term meeting we were given the option to have an adaptation period (periódo de adaptacón). This entailed the children attending school for ½ hour for a couple of days and gradually working up to the full 5 hours … this used to be obligatory for new pupils however, this year the teacher advised us that “although strongly recommended”, she was not allowed to enforce it.
To my horror, only 5 of the 23 pupils in our daughter’s class chose the adaptation period. Can you imagine the chaos of twenty three little 3 year olds from 9am to 2pm on the first days? Not surprisingly, our daughter did not have much fun …
The weeks that followed saw her being dragged, screaming ,from us by one or two staff members, many of whom received punches and kicks to various parts of their bodies. “Distraught & devastated” does not even get near to describing our emotions every morning . We were “those” parents of “that” child! As hard as it was, we stuck to our guns and followed the advice of others and persevered.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was only two months later , she is loving school and is singing and dancing and babbling way (in her own lovely way) in Spanish.
Thanks so much for the reply! Yes, we have definitely been thinking first about where we want to be before looking into the school good advice! But, how do you find out which school is better than another? I’ve heard word of mouth… but I just don’t know where to start. How did you choose your school and location? Yes, my husband is fairly fluent in Spanish, my Spanish is better than my French, but not great. So that is a major factor in leaning toward Spain over France. And that the cost of living is lower. Have you been able to integrate in Spain? Are there many English speaking expats there as well?
First of all, I would like to say that your children are a good age to be considering relocation. As to whether France or Spain is best for you is a difficult question to answer.
Do you speak French or Spanish? I only ask this as it can make a difference to your relocation experience. However, I speak fluent French & Spanish and I still much prefer Spain and the Spanish people.
We encountered hostility in France, despite my knowledge of the language. It was almost impossible to integrate.
Wherever you chose, due to the age of your children, I would strongly recommend you investigate the local state schools before deciding where to move to. This is a mistake many people make when relocating with children. They pick the area to live in then discover the local school is full or not very good and then decide to pay out for expensive private education.
Your children will pick up the language so quickly due to their ages.
Hope this helps & do not hesitate to contact me with any other questions.
aka Mum from @FamilyInSpain
Hi! I’m enjoying your blog. We are currently trying to decide between moving to Spain or France and the school experience is a major factor in our decision. How do you compare your experience in the two? Was that a reason you chose Spain over France? Its also interesting your oldest adjusted without problems. Our kids are 5, 3 and 8 months and have never been in school before, but we really would like to enroll them for at least a year to learn language. I worry so much about them adjusting. Thanks!
Shocking truth about education in Spain? Where does this come from. Is there a report somewhere? Its important parents know as I was led to believe a different story when I came to Spain.