Recently I have only posted about the beach, resorts and concerts. Yes, we did do all those things, but they sure aren’t part of real, day-to-day life for Bebé and I (OK fine well maybe the beach and pool are, but only on the weekends), so I thought it was time I posted about something more, well, practical, like our experience (so far) with school in Cancun.
If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know I have had a great experience with Bebé’s daycare. I must admit I was a little worried about him starting school. I mean, I didn’t even understand the way the grades (kindergarten, 1st grade, etc.) are organized. To be honest, I still don’t have a great grasp of that concept. I do know that children start school at age 3 and go to “Kinder” 1, 2 then 3 (Bebé stayed at daycare and skipped Kinder 1, he is 4 years old now). Then they move to “el Primero de Primaria”. (See what I mean?!) I don’t even know what these grades correspond with in the US, but since he’s 4, I figure it’s essentially preschool, although some of their activities seem pretty sophisticated for preschool.
Bebé goes to a private (read: ya gotta pay) school. The general consensus in Cancun is that public schools are subpar and anyone who can afford to pay for a private school sends their child to one. Here is a basic breakdown of our experience so far…
Hours: Kinder students go to school Monday through Friday from 8 am until 1:45 pm. Primaria kids start at 7 am (That’s gonna be fun!) and I assume they finish later.
Activities: Bebé has started to learn how to recognize/read short words and add. They also work on the usual, letters, colors, shapes and more. The school is bilingual (Spanish and English). I really like that he also has swimming, physical education, music, French and computer classes. They do various shows and presentations thoughout the year as well. The school is not affiliated with any religion.
Homework: I must admit I found it to be really obnoxious that they give 3-year-olds homework almost every day, which is one of the reasons I kept Bebé out of school until Kinder 2, but it turns out that it’s not so awful, and he generally completes all of his homework at daycare aka “homework club”.
Grades/Conferences: Grading is pretty straightforward with Exellent, Good, Satisfactory and Needs Improvement-type categories. I noticed that no additional comments are added. There are no official conferences but parents can request one anytime.
Teachers: Bebé has many teachers! He has two main teachers, one for Spanish and one for English, and a different teacher for each of the specialized subjects. I can tell that he really likes all of his teachers, who he calls “Miss” or “Prof”.
Vacation: Mexican kids only get 6 weeks of summer vacation! They also get two weeks at Christmas and Easter and many other one-day official holidays throughout the year. In addition the last Friday of each month is an “education day” for teachers, so kids don’t attend school.
Cost: This school is middle-of-the-road as far as cost. The cost per month is equivalent to a little over 200 usd per month, plus an inscription fee, books, uniforms and other costs for costumes and other things that come up throughout the year. The price goes up each year.
I’ve noticed that a lot of parents here move their children from school to school. There are many children in Bebé’s class who will not return his school next year and many young adults I have met have told me that they went to 2 or 3 different high schools. I’m not sure what is the cause of this phenomen but I will investigate.
The most exciting and important point here is that Bebé loves going to school. Plus, he was chosen for “flag detail” for the upcoming school year due to his academic and personal development. Stay tuned for the post about the ceremony. 🙂