March is traditionally a special month in South America and so it is in Chile: the school year begins. If you are taking care of preschool children as an Au Pair in Chile, you will certainly have heard some things theat might be a bit confusing at the beginning. For example a 3-year-old being asked how he´s doing at school. Here is some basic information, so you can join the conversation:
- Schooling in Chile is divided into three stages: Prebasica (= like kindergarden), Básica (= elementary school, 1st-8th year), Media (= 9th -12th year). „Educación Superior” (“higher education”) refers to what comes after school, university or other education.
- Many schools, especially private schools, where many children from the Au Pair host families assist, already start with “Prebasica”. So everything from kindergarten to graduation is under one roof. Often the schools have separate schoolyards and buildings for each age group.
- At many schools, families have to apply half a year or even a year in advance. Children are invited to an observation play day. In ordert o get one oft he desired spots, many families apply for several schools at a time.
- Kindergarten itself is divided into age groups in Chile:
Medio Menor = children between 2 and 3 years
Medio Mayor / Playgroup / Spielgruppe = Children between 3 and 4 years
Prekinder = children between 4 and 5 years
Kinder = children between 5 and 6 years
- Private schools and subsidized schools charge (sometimes very high) school fees. The part that is paid monthly is called “Mensualidad”. Once a year, a fee called “Matricula” is charged additionally.
- During the summer holidays, the schools send “listas de útiles” to the families, large lists of all the things the children will need for school. There are also school uniforms and other things tob e purchased. Because of that, and because of the school fees that aredue from March on, many people kind of „fear“ March – if you’re currently in Chile as an Au Pair, you’ve probably already seen advertisements for credits relating to the many costs of March , or promotion of “March Special Offers” in supermarkets.
Now that all children have found a school and have been equipped, the school year starts with the hardest task for children and Au Pairs: getting up early!
If you would like to live the adventure of being an Au Pair in Chile: Just contact us and we will organize your Au Pair stay in Chile with a nice host family. Of course, if your Spanish needs an upgrade, we can help you with a Spanish course in Chile as well. We work with language schools in many regions, from Iquique in the north to Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Pichilemu and down to Pucón in the south.