One of the most important issues for families relocating to a new country is that of the education of their kids. This is particularly so when relocating to a country with a different language than that spoken at home and where different socio-economic and cultural standards prevail. The first query for expatriates is almost invariably that of educational standards in the new host country in comparison to those of the home country. Then other issues surface such as proximity of the desired school to the home or office, the problem of commuting, security, pollution, etc. Mexico is of course no exception when it comes to these issues, and many newcomers are apprehensive about what to expect. This article should make it clear that there's no need to panic. Quite the contrary, Mexico offers world-class bilingual education at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.
The mexican schools that offer the best in terms of bilingual education are obviously the private schools, and they are the only option for children whose mother-language is not Spanish. There are five or six choices of private English-language schools in each of the three largest cities of Mexico, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, as well as French schools, German schools and even a Japanese school in Mexico City. There is an American school in all three major cities. Besides the American School Foundation in Mexico City (the oldest extant foreign school in Mexico, founded in 1888), the Greengates School is also considered one of the finest schools in Mexico.
Greengates follows an English curriculum and most of the teachers are British nationals. Other leading schools are the Westhill Institute, Eton School, and the Colegio Peterson. Another excellent school in Mexico City is the French School, the Liceo Franco Mexicano, which offers the International Baccalaureate program. For German education there is the Alexander Von Humboldt German School, founded in 1894 and offering a trilingual curriculum, and the Japanese School also offers education, primarily for children of Japanese expatriates.
When it comes to English-language education in Guadalajara, there is the American School Foundation, the Colegio John F. Kennedy, the Anderson School, the Francis Bacon School and the Lincoln School. In Monterrey can be found the Colegio Americano Anahuac, Colegio Norteamericano Monterrey, Instituto John F. Kennedy, the Pan American School, and the Colegio Latinoamericano. For kindergarten, junior and senior high schools, there are Montessori schools throughout Mexico, offering good bilingual education.
All of the schools mentioned above offer primary, junior high and senior high school education, and most of them offer kindergarten and pre-school education as well. However, there are other options when it comes to pre-school and kindergarten, as there are schools which only specialize in this level of education. Generally schooling in Mexico starts at age three or four.
As in other countries, each school ascertains how and at what grade a child is to transfer his or her studies from their old school to the new one. One essential requirement is an official apostille from the relevant public office for education in the country where the child was last studying. This is to certify that your child can continue his or her studies in an equivalent school and grade in Mexico. Once this has been acquired your task should be to contact the various schools that you have picked out and compare.
The first thing to look at is the curriculum offered by the school - does it teach American English or British English, what is the ratio of Spanish language teaching and English language teaching, how is it certified and how can credits be transferred to other schools (particularly schools in the home country of the student), how are the facilities, etc. Another thing to be wary of is transportation, school buses, and - particularly in Mexico City - proximity to home. You should have a tour of the school and evaluate the facilities and faculty. Last but not least, compare tuition fees and enrolment fees. Comparison is crucial as each school runs a unique curriculum that is closely tied to that of its "mother" (or "host") school or university back home.
While the ratio of English and Spanish language teaching is usually 50-50, each school has its own application. Some classes at primary level are taught in Spanish. Some schools have almost complete education in English, such as the American School and Greengates. Nevertheless, in all cases, a knowledge of Spanish is very important as foreign students attending junior or senior high school are required to take classes and exams in Spanish in certain subjects. Classes generally run from early morning (8 a.m.) to early afternoon (2 or 3 p.m.). In addition to monthly tuition fees and a one-off enrollment fee, parents are expected to pay for transportation and many of the books, texts and clothes (all schools require the wearing of school uniforms), all of which are sold in the respective schools.
The following is a list of the recommended international schools in Mexico City depending on your needs:
From Kinder through High School: Schools in Mexico
Escuela Inglesa Kent
Opening its doors in 1959, Escuela Inglesa Kent (EIK) is one of the most respected and popular educational institutions in Mexico. Commited to teaching students to think and grow in a multi-cultural and communicative environment, the school welcomes all ideologies and nationalities. The preschool and kindergarten is based on a full immersion program where children are taught both English and Spanish. Housing both library and computer facilities, some of the extra-curricular activites include basketball, music, ballet and theatre. To request more information click here.
American School Foundation
The American School Foundation of Mexico City is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. The school began with a kindergarten level class on the first day of its founding in 1888. It provides a co-educational, bilingual-bicultural education from kinder through high school for an international student body. Students who complete their education at the American School Foundation are prepared to attend colleges and universities in the United States and Mexico, as well as in other countries.
The ASF is an American School with a diverse enrollment and an international flavor. By nationalities, the student body of 2400 is approximately 60% Mexican, 30% American and 10% from some 40 other countries. Its campus facilities and activities (both academic and extracurricular) are comparable to schools in the United States.
Alexander Von Humboldt - German School
The German School Alexander Von Humboldt of Mexico City, founded in 1894, is a bicultural and trilingual school, which prepares Mexican and German children and adolescents for a globalized world. Educational goals are academic excellence, such as the development of methodological skills and a socially responsible attitude. The educational authorities of both countries officially recognize the validity of the courses offered. There are approximately 3000 students in kindergarten (in Lomas Verdes, Xochimilco, and Lomas de Chapultepec), primary, secondary and high school (Lomas Verdes and Xochimilco).
Greengates School is a British International school, founded in 1951, and located in the northern suburbs of Mexico City. With just over a thousand students between the ages of 3 and 18, it mainly serves the foreign diplomatic, commercial and banking communities. English is the language of instruction and the majority of teachers are British, many of whom are contracted from the United Kingdom. In the Infant and Junior School they follow a modified British National Curriculum, which leads on to widely recognized I.G.C.S.E. and I.B. examinations in the Upper School.
Estrella del Norte #6
Colonia Rancho Tetela
Tel: 7313-0077, 7313-1602
Hacienda de Santana 15,
Bosques de Echegaray
Founded in 1971, Eton School has a multinational student body, represented by over 20 countries. Early Childhood levels offer total English immersion and the project method. Elementary levels are completely bilingual and Jr/Sr High School, in addition to the SEP/UNAM programs, offers IBO examination preparation. At present, Eton has approximately 1,100 students in three locations: Toddler Center (Alpes 1140) and Early Childhood (Alpes 605) in Lomas de Chapultepec; Elementary, Junior and Senior High School (Domingo García Ramos) in Santa Fe. All schools are in the most beautiful and least contaminated areas in Mexico City. Tel: 5292-2294, Fax:52-92-1950
El Colegio Britanico (The Edron Academy)
Calzada Desierto de los Leones 5578,
Colonia Olivar de los Padres
Liceo Franco Mexicano - French School
Polanco Homero 1521
Col. Polanco CP. 11560
Tel. 9138 8080
Montañas Calizas 305,
Segundo Cerrada de Duraznos 6,
Colonia San Juan Totoltepec,
Domingo Garcia Ramos 56,
Colonia Prado de la Montaña
High school to University:
Monte Carpatos 940,
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