Spanish School and your kids
Studies have shown there are significant long-term benefits to moving your child abroad, particularly when they are very young.
Generally speaking, the younger your children are the easier it will be for them to adapt to school in Spain.
Some children adapt immediately to to their new lifestyle, methods of teaching and new surroundings, and will be able to pick up the Spanish language much quicker while others may take slightly longer.
Researchers from University College London conducted a study in 2004 which revealed that 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 subsequent study showed 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. In simple terms, learning a second language such as Spanish and living abroad can increase both the intelligence and social capacity of your child.
The human brain acts like a sponge during the formative years and the capacity for learning is highest before the child reaches four years of age. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking language lessons from your kids! Psychologists have found that the best age to move a child is either before the age of two or between the ages of six and eight. Between three and six children seem to suffer a great deal of homesickness and after the age of eight, they tend to struggle far more with the language barrier.
It’s much easier if you learn Spanish
It is important that you practice what you preach and set an example to your children and learn Spanish. If they see that you are making the effort they will be far more willing to learn both at school and at home. By learning some basic language skills you will find it easier to settle in Spain, even if there are plenty of English speakers around. If your child is struggling at school or with homework you will avoid feeling helpless if you are at least able to understand their problems.
There are plenty of Spanish schools in Spain which offer courses to suit your needs. Many foreign expats take intensive courses when they arrive in Spain and some schools run both morning and evening classes to suit your schedule. Once you have a basic grounding in Spanish grammar, the best way to learn is to speak to locals as much as possible. It’s never too late to learn and although the process may be frustrating at first, being able to converse in a foreign language is an extremely rewarding experience.
What are the options for education?
Generally speaking, there are 3 options for educating your children in Spain:
- State schools
- Private and international schools
- Special needs schools
Make the Move!
The number of foreigners in Spain is continually increasing and many families have fulfilled their dream of a life abroad with great success. Kids are surprisingly resilient and in the majority of cases, they adapt quickly to their new lives. Those who have made the move often comment that the quality of life for their children is far better in Spain than at home, with more leisure time, an outdoors lifestyle and less crime. Don’t let your kids put you off moving any longer. They will thank you in the end!
Article by Jennifer Sheen
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