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Jacob’s First Day in Spanish Preschool

Obligatory first day of Spanish preschool pics. 😊 

One of the toughest things about embarking on this experience was leaving Jacob’s amazing daycare/preschool which he had attended full-time since he was four months old, including (and fortunately) during most of the pandemic. In Valencia there are a variety of public, semi-public, private, and hybrid options for the 3-6 age group, but you have to take into account location, availability, length of the school day, affiliation (here, obviously most have some Catholic connection), student population (local vs. expat mix), and the instruction language (most of the public and semi-public ones teach in both Castilian Spanish and Valenciano, the local dialect, which is another potential wrinkle). So it took a decent amount of research, conversations with parents and administrators, coordination, and patience to find an available spot for him at a school here that we felt would be a good fit. (So in that sense, not all that different from the process of preschool-finding in the US, though there are way more options here because public school begins at age 3.) 

Jacob will be attending a Spanish Montessori school with bilingual support in the classroom through his guides (teachers) as he continues to learn Castilian Spanish. Though the school isn’t as close to our housing as we originally had hoped and planned to be, it’ll be a scenic bike commute along the Turia river park and very good bike lanes (and decent exercise at least). And he will be with some little friends he’s already made through the summer program experiences in July and August. 

We’ve been told to anticipate a “challenging” transition period with starting a new school in a new language. Well, the past few months have already been that in spades. The trade-off is that he should become fluent for his age in less than six months. So here’s hoping this experiment works out well for all of us!