Nicaragua School Experience

Posted by Angela Smetana on Sep 18, 2018 9:37:51 AM
Kaiden was only 3 weeks old when we flew from the States, back to our home in Nicaragua. Questions regarding his future education crossed my mind many times on that flight home; Would we be able to find decent, affordable education alternatives for him? Would he thrive as much in Nicaragua as he would in the States? We still had a few years to figure it out... but the thoughts of where, when, and how, remained in the back of my mind.

My husband and I had always contemplated raising our children internationally, and Gran Pacifica Resort seemed like the perfect place to do so. We had been living here for a few years before Kaiden was born and really loved the outdoor-living lifestyle. With over 2,000 acres of property to roam around on, and miles of secluded, sandy beaches to stroll, there were always new places to explore, an abundance of wildlife to see, and numerous fruit trees to pick from... who would not want that lifestyle!

Fast forward 4 years now, and Kaiden is ready to start preschool! When it came time to make a decision, we had two choices to consider: private or public.

Public school: A number of public schools are located close by. The public school year runs from February through November. Grading is on a 100-point scale, and instructions are in Spanish. Education in Nicaragua is free; however, attendance isn't strictly enforced and it is estimated that only 30% of students actually make it through grade 6.

Private schools: Most private schools in the country are located in the capital, Managua. Some follow the Nicaraguan public school year, some follow the American or European school year. Some curriculum's are English speaking programs, while others are regulated under the Nordic or Nicaraguan education system. There are religious, bilingual and international options, or a combination of the three. Many great institutions to choose from!

What We Chose
During our research, we discovered that there was a number of other expat families in the area who were already sending their children to a private French school in Managua. They all had positive experiences they shared with us, and invited us to carpool with them. That, and the fact that the curriculum was in French, meaning Kaiden would be multilingual at such a young age, was a huge bonus as well!

It’s now been over a year and a half since Kaiden’s first day at preschool. His curiosity for learning, creativity, and imagination has grown and flourished!  He spends many days playing and learning together with his classmates, switching back and forth effortless between English and Spanish. He’s learning French as well, mostly colors, numbers, and simple phrases. He loves his weekly swimming lessons, going on school field trips, and singing French songs wherever we go! And most importantly, he is happy.

Do I think we made the right choice looking back? Yes. Definitely.

Are you are considering living abroad with your family? Figuring out the best educational option for your little ones can be stressful. Below are a few tips to consider before enrolling your child internationally.

Keep in mind to ask:
Is it a religious or a secular school? Which one do you prefer?

How many students attend the school? How many per classroom? Teacher/student ratio?
Which languages are spoken? Is the school bi/multilingual?

Does the school follow the local calendar or another one?
What curriculum is being used? Is it accredited?

What are the enrollment requirements, and what are all the fees?

What do other expats say or comment about the school?

Until next time…. Hasta pronto!

NicaraguaRepublica De Nicaragua-1


ECI Development delivers affordable luxury residence and resort communities in Central America, providing our clients with various premier lifestyle options from the Caribbean to the Pacific. ECI delivers inspired residences for adventurous souls.

Coupled with over 20 years of inherent corporate social responsibility in the communities where we work, ECI Development is building a sustainable business that is going to be around for the next 100+ years.

Angela Smetana

Written by Angela Smetana

Born and raised in a small town in Idaho, after completing high school, Angela traveled to Washington State on a volleyball scholarship, where she earned her AA degree. She then continued on with her athletic scholarship and studies to Colorado. During that time, she worked for several hotels and restaurants with Spanish speaking co-workers, which motivated her to venture out, see the world, and learn a new language! In 2005, after earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, she applied to the Peace Corps. She eventually was invited to complete a 2-year stint as a Business Administration Volunteer in Nicaraguan. From 2006-2008, she was stationed in a small town called Telica, where she was the only English speaker! It was sink or swim, as she quickly started to pick up Spanish! During her service, she worked in a few local high schools alongside Nicaraguan counterparts, teaching “Productivity” classes, which showed them how to start and manage a small business. She also completed many secondary projects, including starting a recycling project, painting world maps, appling for small grants, and beginning multiple community banks, that are still running to date. In 2006, after completing her Peace Corps service and earning the “most integrated volunteer” award, she decided she wanted to continue on the path-less-traveled, and stay in country. She helped a friend start-up a surf tour company, where she frequently visited and stayed at Gran Pacifica while with clients on all-inclusive luxury packages. After a year, she decided to move on and applied to be an administrative volunteer in a Private Wildlife Reserve, where she met her now husband, Osman. After hearing of opportunities at Gran Pacifica in the rental and property management company, they made the move in 2010.

Topics: Central America, Nicaraguan Culture, Living In Nicaragua