Our preliminary research showed that school in Spain started on September 17th in the Southern part of Spain. Upon arrival, we decided to stop by a public elementary school; just to be sure we had researched properly.
Register for school in Spain
We arrived in the office of the Secretary and sheepishly asked about “admission”. Not a soul spoke a word of English, so we were prepared to embrace the situation and do the best we could. We did find out that School started a week earlier than we anticipated (YIKES). We also found out that the schools here go by calendar year born for your grade, so there is no cut off in August or October. (See more on this in the Dilemma below) The lady we spoke with was so very nice, but she wanted to communicate more when we began speaking of paperwork required.
She held up her finger and appeared to tell us “just a moment” and off she went. There we were standing in the office, not sure what to do. She then returned with the school English teacher. She greeted me with a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Then the same for Alan, I must say he really enjoyed that. She was very pretty! It caught us both off guard, but then the discussion began about the requirements. The verified that we do need to have a residence prior to selecting a school and that we will need to go to the town hall and register as well. This is all info that we already knew, but the golden gem was that school started a week earlier. It was going to be ok if the kids started after that date, but it would be best if we could get everything taken care of in time. The kids really wanted to start school on the first day with everyone else. After we obtain our rental, we will register the kids for school and just see how it all works out.
This means that Anya with her September birthday will be in 3rd grade in Spain, but would have been in 2nd grade in USA.
In NC, the year Anya was to enter grade K, they moved the birthday cutoff date from October to Aug 31. Thus, Anya needed to wait an additional year for K in public school. We decided at that time to have her enter K in private school and then repeat K for public school. So now we are on the flip side. Anya is the age of the standard 3rd grader here. In fact, anyone that was born in 2004 will be in 3rd grade.
What do we do?
- Should we insist she be placed in 2ndgrade?
- School will be challenging enough with it all being in Spanish. Is that enough of a change for her?
- She will be nearly a year older than many in her class, not to mention much taller.
- The course work may be easier.
- Should we just go with the flow and have her in 3rdgrade?
- She will be with peers of her own age.
- She was well ahead in reading and math back home and is likely at 3rd grade level in many areas.
- Is this too much for her in addition to the language barrier?
We think we are leaning towards option 2 and just let the her land with peers. We wanted this experience to be social for the kids. To pick up the language and make lifetime friends. We feel we will be able to supplement with her education. We also plan to hire a Spanish tutor for both kids, so this will also help. Then if it isn’t working out well, we can mention to the school and have her grade changed if needed. The kids will have a special “Spanish as a second language” type course in school, so hopefully it will work.