Bridget Nelson runs Planet English in Sitges, a pretty coastal town just South of Barcelona. Planet English has been successfully running a Morning Activity Club for children between 2 and 6 since 2007. It was set up by two qualified and experienced primary teachers and since then other experienced educators have joined the team.Bridget has an honours degree in primary education from the UK and has been teaching young people between the ages of 2 and 18 for thirty years. Here she gives her opinions on the schools system in Spain, how to choose the right educational establishment for your child, focusing on the area of Sitges and Catalunya.
"As literacy skills are so strongly emphasized during the schooling process, dyslexic children can experience a great deal of failure which can affect their self-esteem. The result of this can be that they feel they are “dumb”. This is why it is important for dyslexic children to receive as much praise, credits, certificates, gold stars, etc. as the other children. To complete a piece of written work in class is twice as hard as for a non-dyslexic child. It is also important for a dyslexic child to have art, crafts, physical education and sports during their week in school, as these are the only areas in which they may excel and experience a feeling of satisfaction in learning. Having to learn a foreign language - like French - is a virtual impossibility for a dyslexic child, and a sure route to failure: school timetables need amending to take account of this." (PA, Jan 2013)
"The brain rehabilitation methods I employ have been around for about 10 years and are the “brain child” of Dr. Frederick Carrick,DC a Chiropractic neurologist, who is accomplishing a small revolution in the field of neurology. His results are so astounding that some high profile neurologists, even though they are skeptical of his methodologies, are forced to recognize his results." (MP, Dec 2012)
Morna International College is a private co-education school set in the idyllic heart of Ibiza. The school delivers the UK National Curriculum to students from 3 to 18 years, encompassing 20 different nationalities and providing a truly international and caring environment for families living on the island. Colin Sinclair has been head teacher at Morna International College since Autumn 2012, and tells MumAbroad about the school and the ambitious changes and expansion building programme that the College is about to embark on.
"We were founded at an English playgroup get-together in September 2010. A number of us were talking about our efforts to find after-school English literacy instruction for our older kids. We were all in the same boat—unable to afford 10,000 euros per year per child private school fees, sending our kids to Catalan public (or affordable independent) schools, but concerned that they read, speak, and write English as well as possible."
"Parents often comment to us that they do not hear from their children because they are so busy. We have also had parents comment to us that it improves their relationship with their children; they get longer school holidays (2 weeks October half term, 3-4 weeks at Christmas and Easter plus a long summer holiday) which is quality time without the pressures of school work or nagging about homework or endless driving between activities."
“There are a surprising number of families in Sitges and the surrounding area who home educate, both expat and local. Sadly, due to the perception of Home education in the local community and the ambiguity surrounding legality, home educators have largely been driven underground. I find it really sad that there is not more openness and acceptance about this educational choice. In making home education invisible, we are potentially creating a situation where there are children out there who are not getting the education they are legally entitled to.” (KB, May 2013)
"A colleague who teaches physics online had been urging me to get into online tutoring for over a year, now that the technology is there to do it. It made sense from every angle (greater potential client base, less petrol burned and time wasted travelling and so forth). However, to be quite honest, the idea petrified me! I can therefore associate very strongly with parents who are wary of this technology." (MB, July 2013)
"My dream was to create an English-speaking, multicultural centre for parents with small children, where you can find internationally acclaimed activities for babies, toddlers and children. At the same time, I wanted to create a space where parents and children can build connection and community. Many expat mums in particular, feel isolated, and BabyPequeKids gives them an opportunity to meet other mums, families and children in a safe, child-friendly environment. Mums often say that when they arrived in Barcelona, BabyPequeKids was their lifeline."l