kids and education outside of Managua

We are looking to move to Nica in about a year and a half. Our kids will be 9 and 10 and don't speak Spanish. We are interested in what people do with kids in the smaller towns. We aren't sure where we will be living... we have 2 vacations planned to help us figure that out.

I would love to hear all your stories and experiences. The good the bad and the ugly.

hi!  We have three kids, ages 7, 10 and 12.  We are moving in two years also, to San Juan del Sur.  We visit often, and are involved in the education community there.  For English speakers, there are two options currently.  San Juan del Sur Day School is an accredited, full day English language school.  They have a beautiful campus and lots of happy student families.  Escuela Adelante is a bilingual school located right in town, where you will see a student body that mimics the demographics of the local population.  Right now, Escuela Adelante offers bilingual preschool, and for older kids, afternoon programs as a supplement to home school or online school, but they are working to obtain a space to support a full day program.  You can find out more about both schools at their websites.

Hi Carrie,
I just saw your reply! Thank you for that. I'm also inspired that you've been many times. We are going for two weeks the last week of January. I will look into both your schools mentioned. May I ask what draws you to SJDS? And even Nica in general?

How small are you thinking with a "small town"? The smaller it is, the less there is "to do" if that makes sense. Life in Nicaragua in general moves at a slower pace. Many folks spend their days sitting in the porch and people watch, especially as it cools off in the evening. They go to the public parks too which have free wifi so you will see a lot of people there just to get on the internet while their kids run and play.

I'm a fan of El Crucero - just because it's a quick 30 min drive to Managua from there. I love Managua just because I know how to get places. But it's up in the hills so the weather is much cooler though you do get sulfur smells and smoke from the volcanoes up there sometimes. Esteli is a nice place too as it's up in some hills for cooler weather. I guess where you want to go depends on your preferences. Do you want to be surrounded by tourists or do you really want to get submersed in the culture and be more like one of them? You like hot, or beaches, or cool, or rainforests?

School schedules are different too though I am not sure if there are super specialized schools would have a regular school day. Younger kids go from morning to after lunch; older kids go from after lunch until 5-ish. It will definitely be a big change for your kiddos. But like I said there may be a specialized school that follows a more North American schedule. We don't have kids yet so this isn't anything I've looked into and we won't live in Nicaragua permanently until my husband get his US citizenship first.

The more you submerse yourself in Spanish the faster you and your kids especially will pick it up.  You can prepare by listening to Spanish music, watch movies that you know in Spanish with subtitles to help you pick out the words. That is how I built my foundation before living there. Of course now that I'm married to a Nicaraguan I have my own way to practice at home now. Some people, not many, speak very quickly so the more you have been introduced to it the easier it will be to catch the gist of what they are saying even if it's only a few words. Honestly though, out of all the Spanish speaking countries, Nicaragua's people are way easier to understand as they articulate more and don't speak quite as fast as say Puerto Rico or El Salvador for example. So it's a great country to pick up the language. There will be a lot of slang to learn too. They have many goofy phrases and fun words that are very country specific so if you ever visit another country whatever is said in Nicaragua should stay in Nicaragua lol.

Not sure if I even helped answer your school question but I hope some of my insight will help you out. Nicaragua has always been my second home since I first went there in 2001. If you ever have questions about the culture or how things are done there give me a holler :)

Thank you! There are so many great options that I am hearing about. It will be difficult to pick. Weather is important, but I love beach and colonial towns too. Your suggestion is great to, as being close to Managua would be very convienient.  I will add that to my list. We are leaving next week for Nica for 2 weeks. Then 4 weeks in the summer to "live" there for a longer time and try to get a sense of what seems to work well for us.

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