2014-05-22 08:02:50

Expats moving to Panama with children under the age of six can register them in a childcare centre or pre-primary school.

Education in Panama is compulsory for children from 6 years. In general, children attend pre-primary school as from 3 years. The education system in Panama is modern and well developed, even if childcare services are less than ideal. If you decide to move to Panama with children, your choice of schools will be dictated largely by the amount of money you are prepared to invest in education.

Childcare and pre-primary education

Most Panamanian nurseries and pre-primary schools are private. Childcare centers generally welcome children from one year and eight months old upwards. These are open for at least four hours per day. Obviously, as Panama is a Spanish-speaking country, that is the language on which most things are conducted. Looking at it positively, this presents a perfect opportunity for your child to grow up bilingual, speaking your native language at home and Spanish at school, and the beauty is that at that age it hardly seems like learning at all.

Registration in pre-primary education

Your child must be 5 years old in May to be enrolled in pre-primary school as the school year begins in March. Otherwise, he or she will have to wait another year to be registered. The documents required for registration are:

  • your identification documents;
  • your child's birth certificate and health record;
  • your child's vaccination certificate; and
  • proof of address.

As a rough guide, admissions fees may cost around US$ 8,000 according to the school's level. Monthly fees may be of the same amount.

 Important:

To be admitted to pre-primary school your child must be immunized against tetanus, polio, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Hiring a nanny in Panama

If you have children less than one year old, you may want to hire a nanny to share the load while you build your life in Panama. You can find one through an agency or by word of mouth.

 Useful link:

Ministry of Education of Panama

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