Friday, August 15, 2008

Private Bilingual Education for Children in Baja - Norte & Sur

Private, bilingual schools for Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior High and Highschool are found throughout the Baja California Peninsula. In Northern Baja (Baja Norte) the greatest number of private schools are found in the area from Tijuana to Rosarito. There are private, bilingual schools in Ensenada as well.

For Southern Baja (Baja Sur), the majority of schools are found in La Paz and the Los Cabos area (Cabo San Lucas & San Jose del Cabo). Loreto also has private schooling available.

For information on how to enroll a child in school in Baja, read the previous blog entry: Sending a Child to School in Baja.

Some private schools in Baja offer a bilingual education with curriculum in both Spanish and English. Others are primarily Spanish-only, with English classes. Private school hours typically follow the North American norm of 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Private schools have independent authority over their hours of operation and curriculum but must follow federal guidelines regarding enrollment, the same as with public schools. If your child cannot show proof of successfully completing the previous grade level, he or she will have to repeat the grade.

The three school levels covered here are Pre-escolar (Pre-school grades 0 to kindergarten), Primaria (Primary school grades 1-6) and Secondaria (Middle school grades 7-9). Highschool in Mexico is called Preparatory and is grades 10-12.

There are a few small towns with one private school, such as Loreto; the larger cities such as La Paz and Cabo San Lucas have many. In addition to monthly tuition, you will pay an enrollment fee (approximately one-months tuition) and book and uniform fees ($300 to $500 USD and up).

Private school tuition pricing varies greatly. In La Paz, Montessori La Paz is approximately $180 USD a month for tuition. In Cabo San Lucas, Papalote is approximately $350 USD per month. Below is a selection of private schools in the Baja California Peninsula. Visit the school for more information.

Private Bilingual Schools
Here is contact information for a few private, bilingual schools for both Baja Norte and Baja Sur:

Rosarito Beach:
• Colegio Colina de la Luz (1-6), Lazaro Cardenas 1400
• Instituto de las Americas Bilingüe (1-9), Floresta del Mar. Tel +52 661-22 442
• Colegio Ingles (1-6), Calles Rocio No 1030. Tel 668-02 515

• Cristóbal Colon (1-6), Av Miramar 831. Tel +52 174-0024
• Colegio Rodríguez Cabrillo (pre-K and up), Calle San Martín No. 700. Tel +52 172-4640
• Colegio Valle de la Trinidad (7-9), Avenue de las Aguilas. Tel +52 003-5050

• Colegio Calafia Loreto (1-6), Calle (street) Colegio Num 20. Tel 613-135-0152

La Paz:
• Colegio Anahuac (7-9), Guillermo Prieto y Republica. Tel 612-122-1184
• Centro Infantil Montessori (pre-K), Normal Urbana Num 1680 ESQ. Tel 621-122-9268
• Colegio Maria Fernanda (1-6), Calle Cuauhtemoc Num. 1615. Tel 612-123-5188

San Jose del Cabo:
• Juan Mc Gregor (1-6), Km 24. 8, Carretera Transpeninsular. Tel 624-144-5595
• Instituto Particular International Libertad, A.C. (1-9), Morelos Num 17. Tel 624-142-0428
• Centro Educativo Cactus y Mar (1-6), Manzana 21 Lote 8. Tel 624-172-8288

Cabo San Lucas:
• El Camino (1-12), Callejón del Jorongo Num 210. Tel 624-143-2100
• Montessori Omeyocan (1-6), Jacarandas s/n Lomas del Pacifico. Tel 624-173-0156
• Colegio Amarento, A.C. (1-6), Km 6.7, Carretera Transpeninsular. Tel 624-145-8701
• Papalote (1-6), 5 de Febrero E/ignacio Zaragoza. Tel 624-144-4311

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation Guide to the Baja California Peninsula, available for order at

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sending a Child to School in Baja

Your kids have had a blast in Baja. You have as well. They’re sold, you’re sold. Everyone is caught up in hyper-speed towards relocation until you realize... yikes! It is time to pull back on the Baja-bound, super-shuttle throttle – your children have to go to school.

You have three basic options for schooling your child in the Baja California Peninsula: public school, private school or homeschooling. My personal advice, based upon experience with both private and public school systems on the mainland and in Baja, is this; if your child is bilingual, and speaks Spanish fluently, you have any school in the country available to you, pick and choose.

If your child is not bilingual, and has little familiarity with the Spanish language, tread cautiously. A private school may best suit his or her needs, where Spanish is taught for half the day and English the other half. For the English-learning part of the day they get to be the star student, counter-balancing the initial struggles and frustrations during the hours of Spanish instruction.

In immersion programs the instructors are trained to deal with issues faced by non-native speakers. They have to be to teach Mexican children English. In public schools they most likely are not. The cost of private schooling runs anywhere from $150 to $350 U.S. a month and up.

Mexican schools will welcome you as a foreigner – to a certain extent. In deciding what option may be best for your child, keep in mind that public schools in Mexico will not provide support for a non-native speaking child, as is common in many areas of the U.S, and other First World countries. Your advantaged and/or bright child may succeed effortlessly from the ages of three to seven years of age (approximately) when language acquisition is at its peak and little academic stress is put upon them.

Your middle school-aged child or teenager may or may not. A less-stressful first leap into the culture may be a summer program or volunteer abroad program. There are summer programs in Baja and on the mainland.

Another alternative is to start-out homeschooling and take it from there, making decisions based on how it goes and what resources are available in your particular Baja town. Some expat parents send their children to the local public program in the day or afternoon and homeschool English curriculum.

To enroll a child in public or private school in Mexico you must show proof he or she has successfully completed the previous school year and therefore is eligible to continue on to the next grade level. If there are no school records available, or the student does not pass final examinations, they have to repeat the previous year. In my sons’ fourth grade public school class one child was 12 years old.

The school will ask for a copy of the child’s birth certificate, a copy of school records showing completion of the previous year of study and photo identification for the child and for the parent. If your child has been homeschooling in the states independently of any school system you must create an official report for him or her that is validated in a way acceptable to the school.

Mexican public school hours are typically from 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Private school hours commonly follow the North American norm of 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Private schools have independent control over curriculum and hours of operation but must adhere to the same government-mandated guidelines for enrollment.

Molly, author of Viva La Baja! Relocation Guide to the Baja California Peninsula, available for order at