Choosing where your kids go to school, whether it be for one week, six months or a year is probably one of the most important decisions you will make about your stay in Granada. It is a universal worry that every parent wants to get right. Honestly, I understand that having a child in tears every morning before an eight o’clock bell is traumatic for the whole family. When the children are happy at school with new friends, everything else in the move flows more easily.
We chose Granada International School
My son Aiden is a 6th grader at Granada International School (formerly Sacuanjoche International School) and I myself have spent a good deal of time volunteering in various areas of the school. I feel that we are very fortunate to have discovered GIS in our move to Granada. The bilingual, educational experience has been invaluable and it has also introduced us to a diverse community of families from all over the world that share similar values and goals for our kids.
When I recommend Granada International School to newcomers, I do so with the sincere belief that I am recommending a healthy, vibrant, caring atmosphere that has the interests of your child’s well-being and future at heart. But it is more than that. The Granada International community also cares and is conscious about the kind of world that all our kids will be living in.
A school that is doing meaningful work
For many parents, Granada International School’s culture and mission will resonate with your family’s overall purpose in residing and volunteering abroad in Nicaragua. The school was designed to integrate local Nicaraguan and international students of all backgrounds by offering scholarships to 35% of its student body.
Your child’s participation in the school helps to support tuition expenses for bright, local students. GIS’s unique, bilingual educational experience is a community game changer for Nicaraguan kids, creating exciting prospects for future work and advanced studies that require bilingual backgrounds.
Social integration of newcomers
The Granada International student body has an admirable ability to welcome new students throughout the year. Year-round students and their families are accustomed to receiving incoming students from all over the world in any given week. You will notice that GIS students are friendly, polite and engaging in two languages. While being a new student can be seriously challenging at many schools, Granada International students are very interested in getting to know newcomers and inviting them into their circles of play.
The GIS student body is composed of about 13 nationalities, who all enjoy access to an attentive, bilingual education that is uniquely customized to each student’s needs.
For example, Aiden is currently enrolled in 6th grade. He studies Spanish, English, Math, Reading, and Writing in the classes that corresponds to his specific learning levels in those areas. Social Studies, Science and elective classes take place with his own 6th grade teacher. In this system, students rarely feel that they are too behind or ahead but are confidently at their right level.
Bilingual, international faculty
The faculty at Sacuanjoche are a mix of enthusiastic teachers from Nicaragua and North America. All teachers speak both Spanish and English and instruct in both languages. More importantly, you will find that they are energized, caring and capable professionals who take your child’s happiness, health and education very seriously.
Active community of parents
Granada International nurtures a unique environment that is dynamic and responsive to its members; it will probably remind you of a charter school back home. With a core student body of only 100 students, parents can directly participate in guiding the direction of the school and the well-being of the students.
I highly recommend making time during your stay to volunteer at Sacuanjoche. On any given day, you will find parents pitching in to assist a teacher, organize an event, or volunteer in the library. Volunteering in all these areas has been so fulfilling and a lot of fun for me. There is a terrific energy and vibe to the school among the parent, faculty and student body that will compel you to stay involved.
Short visits and year round students
Sacuanjoche accepts students throughout the school year. It is possible to attend for a week for a cultural immersion experience. Ask for your child to be assigned a buddy in his or her home room to help learn the ropes of where to go and when, and to have someone to hang with at recess and at lunch. School staff know their student’s personalities well and have a keen ability to create a good match.
GIS is now located near the Cocibolca Jockey Club at the entrance of Granada. The school enjoys 10 acres of green space with football fields, playgrounds, and an area for gardening and walking paths.
For more information check out the Granada International School website.