For families relocating to
Generally speaking the younger the child the better because it is much easier for kids to adapt when they have less baggage, not only in terms of friendships, but the mechanics of the education system they are used to. But of course it's not just the changed environment that causes the concern as much as coming up and coming up against a totally new and foreign language.
But as with all things in life, money can make things an awful lot easier. The education system in
At Spanish state schools and Spanish private schools, lessons are taught in Spanish. It is only the international and foreign schools where lessons are taught in English. Younger children tend to be able to pick up foreign languages that much faster than older children, so that, coupled with the fact that a younger child has less baggage to carry around means that they will adapt far more readily.
The age for compulsory education begins when the child is six years old. However, depending on which region in Spain you will be living in, this can vary, and many schools are willing to start accepting children from the ages of three and four years old. This is great for the younger children because it gives them the opportunity to be immersed in a foreign language thereby learning it naturally, before any really serious teaching starts at the age of six.
But for older children whose parents cannot afford international or foreign school fees, there is clearly a problem. Many parents overcome this problem by employing a personal tutor, and with fees ranging anywhere from €8-€22 per hour this is considerably more affordable than foreign or international schooling.
For those parents who can afford the fees, an international school is very often the option that they will plump for. This is on account of the fact that most international schools in
Another great attraction of Spanish international schools is that they have a bilingual system whereby they teach their curriculum in both English and Spanish. The advantage here is obviously that pupils get the best of both worlds i.e. taking lessons they can clearly understand, whilst at the same time also being able to learn Spanish.
Finally, the international schools employ a better learning model because they tend to have far smaller class sizes thereby giving the pupils more personal tuition.
Moving children to a new country that does not speak English as its native language is always going to be traumatic for older children; the younger ones can amazingly take it all in their stride. But if your children are of an older age, and you value the standard of the education they receive, then you will have to think twice before deciding on
Image courtesy of EIC School Marbella