Sending your kids to a Spanish School
"Children who had learnt a second language had a significantly higher proportion of grey matter (the area of the brain which processes information) than those who had not"
A recent article by Jennifer Sheen discusses the benefits of the foreign education, focusing on Spain.
She goes on to say that ?children who had lived abroad had higher levels of resilience, a better understanding of the world and a more compassionate approach to people of different ethnicities?.
Although the first few weeks can be tough, you?ll find that the kids normally adapt to their new environment a lot faster than you! They normally pick up the language a quicker too.
Generally speaking the younger they are the easier it is form them to adapt to the new lifestyle. Some kids adapt almost immediately, but obviously it depends on the individual and the circumstances.
At this age their little minds are like giant sponges with a thirst for new sights, sounds, colours and information. Children reach their highest learning capacity at the very curious age of four.
The best age to move the kids abroad to a foreign school is either before they turn two or between the ages of six and eight. From three to six, they often get homesick and after they have turned eight, it?s harder from them to pick up the new language.
Schools in Spain
Despite being renowned for their laid back ?Manana, Manana? attitude towards life, the Spanish have an excellent and very affordable education system. There are three options you can choose from - state schooling, private schooling and international language schools.
In Spain, State education is completely free. Schools are mixed (boys and girls) and finding a place is very easy for EU citizens. All you need is your child?s passport, birth certificate and a proof of your address.
About one third of Spanish children go through the private schooling system. Like state education, schools are mixed and mostly Catholic.
You can choose from a variety of syllabi in Spanish private schools, including: GCSE?s & A-level?s, Americas?s High School Diploma and college entrance examinations, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Spanish Bachillerato.
For children over the age of seven, this is often the best option.
Once they reach this age, being completely immersed into a Spanish-speaking environment can erode their confidence, as they probably won?t be able to understand the teacher or communicate with much needed peer groups.
As well as English and American schools, Spain also has French, German, Swedish and various other foreign language schools. Although your child will be in an international environment, he or she will gradually pick up the language as Spanish language and culture are taught daily.
All foreign schools in Spain must be approved by their country?s embassy in Spain.
Taking the plunge
Every year, thousands of UK families successfully set up home in Spain and most of them never look back.
There are significant long-term benefits to sending the kids to school in a foreign country. Apart from becoming bilingual, they?ll also enjoy more leisure time, an outdoor lifestyle, less crime, a multicultural environment and an all round better quality of life.
Most of the time, the kids will adapt surprisingly quick, often faster than the adults. If for whatever reasons you have reservations about moving to Spain, it shouldn?t be the kids. They?ll love it!
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