International school Agora Lledo in the province of Valencia22.12.19
I`ve wanted to visit the Agora international schools in Spain, offering the IB program in different parts of the country, for a long time. In the approach of Christmas, Kiev became cold and sad and my choice fell on warm and sunny Valencia, where I could get a direct flight by Ryanair.
Winter in Valencia
Valencia is my favorite city in Spain. Here I started to learn Spanish and, like it was yesterday, I remember the narrow streets of the old city, where I, who had never liked running, were making my record runs 7-8 miles every night, trying quickly overcome the hot blocks separating me from the pleasant coolness of the Park Rio. In Valencia, a few years ago, I decided to spend the winter, going to Spain by car with all my dogs and settling in distant from the center, but in an apartment with a view on the beach, area Malvarrosa. Here I was making my daily long walks with the dogs along the wide but deserted in winter beach, enjoying the warm sun, stopping for coffee with a huge selection of exclusive cakes on the terrace of the famous cafe La Mas Bonita.
Therefore, evaluating mid-December options of direct flights to Spain, I made my mind to visit a school in Camillo, 80 km from the center of Valencia and Saturday night returned once more to the beloved city.
The weekend was spent in wandering through the familiar streets of the old town, visiting favorite restaurants, walking Park Rio through a center of culture and science to a wide, long promenade, where I could not bring myself to leave until the last rays of sun hid behind the sea horizon.
As usual, December Valencia pleased me with the weather. In the afternoon, the temperature rose to 22 degrees, and while tourists were walking under the sun in t-shirts, locals continued wearing coats and boots. The evenings were sharply cold, and I, not having time to get used to the change of climate with Kiev, was wrapping my neck with a scarf under the coat and for dinner chose to sit inside of the restaurants.
On Monday, the school sent me one of the school mini-buses, which usually do not come that far. According to the law of Spain, the routes of school buses shall not exceed 50 kilometers. Therefore, families who choose accommodation in Valencia, which is far over this distance, should bring the kids and take them back either to/from school or to/from the nearest bus stop, which is located on the North outside the city.
A visit to the school left a very optimistic impression that my choice of school from a big Agora family was correct. Despite the fact that most parents who choose this school originally wanted to move to Valencia, seeing the school, opt for a good children's education and comfort, which offers the life of small coastal towns of Valencia province.
Multi-lingual education in international schools in Spain
Before proceeding to a more detailed description of the school Agora Lledo, I want to focus on how is organized a two-language education in many IB schools in Spain. In the case of most schools in the family of Agora, located in many cities of major Spanish provinces, it is often three-lingual education.
The main language of instruction in international schools is English, while graduation from schools may be in one of two systems: national system – Spanish Bacheloriato, or international system - IB. In order to prepare students for the possibility to choose any of the diplomas and following Spanish law, teaching to be done in all the languages of the region, half of the school subjects are taught in English and the other half in Spanish, with mandatory learning of the regional language in secondary school.
Agora schools accept children at the age of 1-year to the first cycle of Pre-school, which lasts until the age of 3 years. At that age, the school uses only English during the school day. From 9 am to 12 and from 2.30 to 5 p.m. there are lessons and games? that help to develop sensory and emotional skills: children are told or read stories, introduced to painting and crafts, constantly alternating between short lessons and outdoor games. Swimming lessons in the school pool, which has a special area for babies, are compulsory for this age. From 12 to 2.20 p.m.– there are lunch and Siesta. The kids can sleep in the designated rooms, or play with a teacher in the next room.
At the age of 3-5 years, students start to study the Spanish language. Children learn to read and write in English and Spanish, learn the basics of mathematics and music in Spanish, but other subjects, such as robotics, art and science - in English.
At the age of 6 years, children start Elementary school. From 1st to 4th grades students study core subjects in English, when mathematics in Spanish. The regional language is also added to the curriculum in Elementary school.
In the 5th and 6th grades (first cycle of secondary school) the German language is added as a foreign language, while the other subjects continue to be in English and Spanish in the same way as in elementary school.
During the first half of school education (1st - 6th grades) much attention is paid to subjects that develop emotional education of children: music, art, robotics and sports. These classes continue in the second half of schooling, but from the 7th grade, the attention is focused more on academic subjects.
In 7th grade, children can choose to continue studying German or to take another European language or Mandarin. Part of the core subjects start to be taught in Spanish, while in the 7th grade – one Science subject and one social science is replaced from teaching in English, to - teaching in Spanish, in the 8th grade another one, and in the 9th – one more, to prepare students for the opportunity to finish school with a national or international program.
International students, which join Agora international school not from the beginning, can enroll in school only with the knowledge of English language, but they immediately start the program with other languages. To help new students to adjust to new languages, they are exempt from exams in regional languages for two years. The schools also offer holiday language programs where children can study English and Spanish, Saturday language school and organized extra classes in groups or individually. All this is offered at a very affordable price. For example, in the case of the Agora Lledo school, extra tutoring in language are 45 euros per month and there are classes 2 times a week. Anyway, I highly recommend starting Spanish classes for the whole family as soon as you make the decision to move to Spain.
Of course, not at all international schools in Spain, the transaction of international students run as smoothly as in Agora schools.
Starting the description of the Agora Lledo, I have to mention the fact that it is a very popular international school in Spain. In the ranking of the newspaper El Mundo, last year the school was in third place among the international schools in Spain.
Agora Lledo CASTELLÓN, Valencia province
There are about 860 students studying at the school, most of them are the children of Spanish families 10% children of foreigners who moved to Spain for a more comfortable life or international students who are living in the boarding house. Russian-speaking families prefer buying property on the coast and as I am often asked to recommend a reliable local real estate or immigration Agency, I have asked the school to introduce me to a reliable Spanish partner working in the region.
School Agora Lledo located on the hill above the Castellón and surrounded by orange groves. The school has large grounds with a Playground and numerous sports fields, small vegetable garden, created and maintained by students, indoor pools, divided into zones for kids and for swimming.
School Agora Lledo offers a unique service for parents and residents of the area – the sports complex with swimming pool, saunas and Jacuzzi, English and Spanish courses, as well as a café-bar and parent club, which offers weekly lectures on various subjects.
From Monday to Friday, 25 school buses collect students on routes, extending far to the North and South of the school. Buses bring children to the start of lessons at 9 am and picked up at the end of the school day at 5 o'clock. At the same time, the school is open from 7.30 am to 7.00 PM for working parents, who can bring their children to school early, where they can practice or play under supervision, or leave after the school day for participation in numerous sections.
The school offers many extra-curricular activities, such as ballet, gymnastics, a variety of sports, arts and leadership development. The school is a partner of the Conservatory and all music lessons are held at a very high level. All this leads to the fact that, that after visiting school, families, who questioned the choice of the region to life in Spain opted to rent or buy housing near the school, making choices in favor of children's education and comfort of the small coastal towns.
Last year, the school began to offer accommodation for international students with Spanish families. Since this is a new service, the selection of families is made very carefully. If the parents have chosen the option for their child to stay with a host family, the school chooses the family of one of the teachers or a local student that promotes rapid integration into the Spanish culture and language.
So, if you are still not ready to move to Spain with the whole family, feel free to send your kids on their own, provided that they are at least 12 years, to the school Agora Lledo. On graduation from the school you will get highly educated and integrated into the European community citizen, fluent in 3-4 foreign languages.