If you are thinking of moving to Crete with children, their education will be an important factor affecting you decision of whether or not to move.
There is one full time school in Heraklion (the European school) which teaches lessons in English and one full time private school in Chania which follows the American curriculum.
The European School in Heraklion
The School of European Education (SEE) opened in September 2005. It was set up as an international school primarily in order to provide schooling for the children of the multi-lingual European employees of ENISA, The European Organisation for the Safety of Networks and Information, and to offer all pupils a European oriented intercultural and multilingual education.
The European school provides Nursery, Primary and Secondery school education. As well as providing education for the children of ENISA employees, the school also takes other pupils as follows:
- Children of the employees of International Organizations and Diplomatic services that are based in Heraklion, Crete - Children whose parents (at least one of them) are nationals of an EU member state.
The School aims at familiarising the pupils with a multilingual and multicultural education.
The school is actually based in a Greek school, the 3rd Dimotiko of Heraklion in Ag. Triada, on Savathianou street. It is part of the public school system and there are no fees.
Theodoropoulos School is a private school in Korakies, Akrotiri, Chania which teaches the American curriculum. It is authorised by the Greek Ministry of Education. All international students are accredited, are eligible to study anywhere abroad and the transcription from the school will be accredited by colleges and universities in the USA.
In Chania the Cross Cultural Center offers part time English language and cultural programmes aimed at bi-lingual or native English speaking children.
Cross Cultural Center 32 Athinon Koun Kapi Chania Contact Tel. Alexandra Mihelakis -+30 6948364682, Carla Dolce-Stavrides- +30 6948364681 and Karen Sifostratoudakis- +30 6948364680. A message can also be left at the following landline number 2821054364.
Lessons are two to three times a week, in the afternoon, 2 hours per session. There are classes for pre -school aged children, right up to teens.
Any child who lives in Greece can attend Greek school. To register your child at Greek school or nursery go along to the school in your residential area. Some documentation showing your local address (e.g. electricity or phone bill) is usually required, to prove that you are living in the area. You will also need the child's birth certificate, and you may be asked for details/proof of your child's innoculation history.
How will your child adjust to Greek school? In general, the younger the child, the easier it will be for him/her to adapt. Toddlers and small children adapt and absorb new language very easily. Children who join a Greek school at a very young age should progress normally (and with the help of extra lessons, as is the norm for Greek school children) through the Greek school system.
Older children, and especially those coming up to, and in, their teens may have a very hard time adjusting. They will be thrown into a strange language and culture and any child who is not fluent in Greek will be placed in a class with much younger children as they learn the language. Note that this does not mean they will be taught Greek in class - they will be sitting in on lessons which will be impossible for them to understand if they don't fully comprehend Greek.. Imagine how your 12 year old will feel spending seven hours a day in a class of 8 year olds, with whom he can hardly communicate...
You should carefully consider what effect a move would have on older children in particular, and their future education. Children from another country with little or no knowledge of Greek, who join the system mid way through are unlikely to graduate from high school as they will not have the language skills. Think of reading and debating Greek literature, for example, or passing an advanced physics exam in Greek, after just two or three years studying the language, and having missed much of the curriculum.
Nursery Schools The state nursery schools 'nipio' , start taking children who have reached their fourth birthday by the start of the school year (September). There are two years of state nursery school, 'pro nipio' and 'nipio', however some nursery schools have a shortage of teachers and so will only take children in the second year (nipio) i.e. at 5 years old. You should enquire at the nearest school to where you will be living.
Private nurseries in Crete are very reasonably priced, and many working parents send their young children to one. The cost is around 250 Euros a month for 5 days a week, and you can negotiate a better price for part time. It may be a good idea for a young child to go to one of these nurseries, even part time, just to get used to the language. They generally accept babies from a few months old, up to children of five.
_________________________________________________________ Further detailed information on schools in Greece & Crete including curriculum, teaching methods and expectations throughout the Dimotiko, Gymnasio and Lykeio school system can be found in the book "Living in Crete. A Guide to Living, working, Retiring & Buying Property in Crete". click here to get a copy __________________________________________________________