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Marissa Gabrielle Lolk of Jireh Dental Care – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Marissa Lolk's beautiful, school-age children, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are different kinds of schools in Nicaragua. There are public schools, which I do not recommend because public schools here are very poor structurally. They are not well-kept. However, the education at the public schools is actually not quite bad. They are just not structurally sound and there are not many places to sit. You would see kids taking their classes on a bench, which is sad.
 
Then there are private schools, which have a wide range. There are Nicaraguan private schools that are only Spanish-speaking. There are also bilingual private schools, where you will find the middle class and the upper class. There are really many good private schools.
 
I would have to say that my kids’ school is probably the best but that is because I am biased. I really like my school but a lot of people believe that because there are almost two thousand kids in our school. My kids’ school is called American-Nicaraguan School, so it is fully like being in a school in the States. The curriculum is the same and they are English-speaking all the time but you can take a Spanish course. There is also a Chinese course and you can also do sports. It really gives you that sense of being a little bit at home.
 
If your case is like mine where you came to Nicaragua and had kids that have to go to school but you have plans on going back to the US, or if you want to send your kids to college back home in the US, then they would have to go to a school like the American – Nicaraguan School because their school curriculum is similar to what we have back home. It makes it easier for your kids unless you are an expat and your kids are a little bit older and you don’t care if they would attend college, then you could put them into a different school, but then they would have to learn fluent Spanish. They have to learn to reading, writing; the whole nine yards, which could be a little bit tricky. Most expats that I know, patients of mine who have kids here, send their kids to English-speaking schools because they want to give their kids the option of going back home to the US for college. 
 
All the schools here in Nicaragua charge an entrance fee, which means you have to a pay a one-time amount in order to be able to get into the school. Then you must pay a monthly tuition fee. The entrance fee for the American – Nicaraguan school is US $5,000 per student. They do waiver something if you have multiple children enrolled in the school but it is at their discretion and the amount depends on what level the child is enrolled in.
 
The American – Nicaraguan school is a very expensive school. The other private schools charge between $4,000 and $5,000 for the entrance fee. The Nicaraguan schools that are bilingual but do not have the American curriculum have substantially lower tuition fees.  The schools here in Nicaragua do offer a payment plan so that you can pay it along with the monthly tuition as well. If you are alumni, or if you marry someone who is graduated from the school, I believe the entrance fee is waived or some of it is waived as a thank you for being alumni.
 
The American – Nicaraguan school is very old. It was here even before the civil war and presidents of Nicaragua have studied there. So it is a very old school but it is a nice school, though it is a little pricey. The monthly tuition fee of preschool is about $235 a month. Primary school is around $370 per month. Middle school is around $400 to $500 per month and high school costs around $700 per month.
 
(Marissa Lolk's beautiful, school-age children, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Dr. Carlos Alemán of Centro de Diseño Denta (Clínica Dental) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Children from The Nicaraguan School of Managua, pictured  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are different types of schools here in Nicaragua. If you go to the local high school, you might not get the best education but you have the option of going to American schools here where the level of education is high. A lot of foreigners who come to live in Nicaragua send their children to English-speaking schools here that are at par with the schools in the US. There are also local private schools here with quality just as good.  
 
(Children from The Nicaraguan School of Managua, pictured.) 
Zachary Lunin of Aurora Beachfront Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Kids playing at a sports park in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe public schools in Nicaragua are not great. However, there are options for private schools.
 
There are a lot of great private schools in Managua and there are some bilingual schools, too. There is a bilingual, private school here in San Juan Del Sur that just recently opened. This new school is a wonderful option and now there are about 65 kids in that school. Last year, their student population was only half of that. I would assume next year, their student population will be double again. There are a lot of people who are choosing to raise a family here in Nicaragua. It is a wonderful place to raise a family because of the freedom that you have here as a kid and the time that you are able to dedicate to your children. 
 
I spent about US $200 a month for each of my children on school fees. They go to school 5 days a week. My kids are young boys so they are still not full time. They are in school from 8 AM to noon. The school here is growing quickly so I hope the school will continue to add grades so my kids will be able to stay in the school throughout high school. 
 
(Kids playing at a sports park in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Margit Streifeneder of RetirePedia – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

German-Nicaraguan school – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEducational spending in Nicaragua is very low compared to the U.S. or European countries. As a consequence, many state schools in Nicaragua are run down, have hardly any resources and a high teacher to student ratio (one teacher for every 33 students on primary level, according to "The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index™").  In addition, the degrees achieved in public schools would only allow for entrance to local universities, but not in any other country.

Consequently most expats will send their kids to one of the international schools in Managua, or opt for home-schooling or distance learning programs. 

The 5 biggest international schools are all in Managua...

  1. Colegio Aleman-Nicaragüense
  2. ​American-Nicaraguan School
  3. Lincoln International Academy
  4. Nicaragua Christian Academy
  5. Notre-Dame School
My own daughter goes to the German-Nicaraguan school (pictured). The school grounds are beautiful, and so far we are happy with the style and quality of the education.
 

 

Julie Speier of San Juan del Sur Day School – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Children learn about organic gardening at San Juan del Sur Day School, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingNicaragua’s Department of Education has an excellent curriculum.  However, most of the public schools have teachers that haven’t been trained to implement the curriculum, nor do they have the resources. As a result, the public schools here are pretty rough.  The Catholic schools are a little bit better but there are about forty kids per class with one teacher and they also have very limited supplies.
 
I started San Juan del Sur Day School and modeled it in large part after Cincinnati Country Day School, where I had been a teacher and administrator for seven years.  I still have a close relationship with the school so whenever I have questions about curriculum, I consult with them. We have also modeled our curriculum after the International Baccalaureate Schools, which are very prestigious and recognized throughout the world. We hope to get to a point where our high school can be accredited through the IB (International Baccalaureate) programs. I get to do the hiring and to look for teachers who focus on the whole child. 
 
We just implemented a new math program, and since we’re located on an organic farm, the gardening and taking care of farm animals have become an integral part of our curriculum. It’s really exciting. We have our lead teacher choose a farming project for 6 to 8 weeks that all the kids work on and become a part of that we are going to sustain. There are also other projects that they work on such as windmill projects, composting, various building projects, learning how to make milk, learning how to make charcoal, etc. The topics go on and on.  It’s exciting to have all of these at our fingertips, being located on this really pristine piece of land here in San Juan del Sur overlooking the ocean and Ometepe that already has very successful gardens, orchards, and farming animals.
 
We currently have from pre-school through fifth grade and extending through later grades as our oldest students continue to the next grades. Currently we are accredited with the Nicaragua Ministry of Education, which is the first step before you can apply for international accreditation, which we are working on next. 
 
I have not have the opportunity to do observations of other schools around the country. I know that Managua has some very good private schools such as the American School, and the Marie Curie School, which I observed for a day. They are a unique kind of school that uses very experiential learning. They plan big trips for each grade level. The whole curriculum revolves around camping in different places in Nicaragua. You start with an overnight in the school in kindergarten. Then first graders get to go further away and take longer trips. Granada has two newer expat elementary schools, of which I have gotten some good reviews. In contrast, the quality of the public schools depends on where they are located and who the teachers are. It is kind of a shot in the dark.
 
(Children learn about organic gardening at San Juan del Sur Day School, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, pictured.)
Daniel Snider of Snider's Realty Nicaragua – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pierre and Marie Curie – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI personally went to a private bilingual school in Managua, Nicaragua. It is called the American – Nicaraguan school. I have to say that I had a very good education. Just like in many places around the world, the quality of education depends on what type of school you go to. Private schools have a little bit more superior education than public schools but the public schools in Nicaragua are pretty good.
 
A lot of the schools here in Nicaragua go from grade school, to middle school, and all the way to high school, so very rarely would you ever change schools once you start going there. I went to the same school from 1st grade to senior high school. The school is in Managua, but my parents live in Tola, which is about two hours away from Managua by car, so they went back and forth.  (Now, I also live in Tola full time.)
 
If you live in Managua, you will close to the best schools there. If you live in Granada, it is just 40 minutes away from Managua, but there are also nice private schools in Granada. Where I live here in Tola, a lot of the younger kids go to the Pierre & Marie Curie school, which is a small private schools that is named after the French chemist Marie Currie.
 
It is better to go to the American style schools if you are someone near the Managua area. The top notch senior year schools in Managua are the American-Nicaraguan School, the Lincoln Academy, and St. Augustine Academy.
 
As far as universities, Nicaragua has quite a few really good universities, including the University of Central America (UCA), and Kaiser University.
 
Having good schools and universities in Nicaragua, I would say that the average person who goes to school in Nicaragua gets a pretty good education. I went to college both here in Nicaragua and in the US. Here in Nicaragua, I went to the Ave Maria University and studied there for two years and then I moved to the University of California System in the US. I felt very confident going to the UC System after going to school in Nicaragua. A lot of the private schools in Nicaragua are fully accredited by the schools and universities in the US, so the transition is actually easy. They prepare students in order to study abroad. 
 
(Scientists Pierre and Marie (with daughter Irene) Curie, namesake for a private Nicaraguan school in Tola, pictured.)
Daniel Bolanos of Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan´s Rock – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
National Autonomous University of Nicaragua - Leon – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are different types of schools in Nicaragua. There are Catholic schools, private schools, public schools, English-speaking private schools, and Spanish-speaking private schools. There are even French-speaking private schools here in Nicaragua.
 
The level of education in the public schools is low. In the private American-Nicaraguan school that I went to, however, everybody who went to that high school went to study in the States at a university. Only about 10% of those who go to the other private schools here in Nicaragua go to the US for college. Then those who went to public schools have only a slimmer of a chance of going to the US. They go to college here in Nicaragua. I was pretty much in one of the best school here in Nicaragua.
 
In the private American-Nicaraguan school in Managua, other students included the sons and daughters of different ambassadors from the embassies. The students there were mostly from high society families. When I went there, about 10 years ago, there were about 1,000 to 1,200 students, but the population has grown since then.  The student to teacher ratio was about 20:1. It is a nice school and I would say that I was very much prepared for college after going to that school. The tuition fee is around US $500 to $600 per month.
 
Almost all schools here in Nicaragua, both public and private, require that their students wear uniforms.
 
*In Photo: National Autonomous University of Nicaragua - Leon, Nicaragua
Darrell Bushnell – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
schools in Nicaragua public school children  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI would not say that the public schools in Nicaragua are good, but they are now much better than they used to be.
 
The education system of Nicaragua is similar to that of the United States in that the students are supposed to go all the way to high school; and actually, they can go through college almost for free. The teachers are not trained very well and there are only a few textbooks. Because they have so few textbooks, a teacher may spend half a day writing on the board and the students quickly transcribe what is written into their notebooks. Then the teacher will erase the writing on the board and write the rest.
 
Children here only go to school for three to four hours a day, so that the school can be used for multiple sessions during the day. Morning classes might be for grade school (for example) and the afternoons will be for high school students or vice versa.
 
There are private schools in Nicaragua as well, but they tend to be in the larger cities. There are a couple of private schools here in Granada, but Managua is where most of the private schools are located. All levels of private schools here in Nicaragua tend to have the same level of excellence as US private schools.
 
The private schools here in Granada cost around US $150 per month. The really good schools, especially the bilingual ones, could cost around $700 or $800 per month.
 
John-Marc Gallagher of Granada Property Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The public schools in Nicaragua areSacuanjoche International School student in Granada Nicaragua holding up crayon drawing – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living less than desirable.  They don’t teach a second language and they’re graduating students with an 8th to 10th grade education.
 
The middle and upper class Nicaraguans and expats send their children to private schools in Nicaragua, which are excellent and accredited in the United States.  There are a dozen private schools in Managua.  Every year these schools publicize how many of their students were accepted to top rated colleges in the US and elsewhere and it’s always interesting to see.  Out of a class of 80 – 100 students, 25 or 30 of them get accepted to first and second tier colleges in the United States.  Some of them go to Spain, some go to Mexico, some go to Chile, but the largest group of the graduates from these schools goes to the top rated colleges in the US, including Harvard, Yale, LSU, UCLA, etc. 
 
Most of the private schools in Nicaragua bring in teachers from the States.  As a result, the middle class and wealthy Nicaraguans who are sending their children to the private schools have their children being taught by North American, English-speaking teachers, so the students learn English from a native English speaker.  All the subjects are taught in English and Spanish.  I have spoken in English with younger Nicaraguans as well as older Nicaraguans who graduated from one of these private schools 25 – 30 years ago, and they speak English without an accent.
 
In Granada, Nicaragua, where I live, there are two bi-lingual schools, both fully accredited.  One is Sacuanjoche International School, which was opened by my wife, Janice and I, which goes through fifth grade.  (We have plans to continue adding a grade every year.)  The other school is Mount Berkeley, which has grades kindergarten though high school.  At Mount Berkeley, their teachers are not international; they’re Nicaraguans who teach English.
 
I don’t know if they have a private bi-lingual elementary or high schools in Leon. They do, however, have a well-known and well-regarded college.
 
I doubt if there are any private bi-lingual high schools in the San Juan del Sur / Tolla / Rivas area.
 
The cost for private grade schools in Nicaragua is about US $200 to $250 per month.
 
The cost for private high schools in Nicaragua is more like $5,000 to $7,000 per year.
Carla Fjeld of Ola Verde SA – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Once upon a time, the American Nicaraguan School in Managua was the only school with bilingual Spanish and English instruction and USA accreditation, and thus was the school that most facilitated acceptance into US universities and colleges, but today there are several bi-lingual schools K-12 with US accreditation. Also, there are several that offer the international baccalaureate degree, which facilitates entry into European colleges and universities. It's probably also fair to say that in Nicaragua, you have the opportunity to complement classroom learning with "lessons from life" and parents can play an active role and thus help make their kids incredibly well - rounded. 

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