Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Answers to your qestions about moving to, and living in, Peru,
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tomsax
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Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby tomsax » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:37 am

Me and my Peruvian wife currently live in the UK. We are thinking of living in Peru for a few years in the future, assuming I could find a reasonably paid job there. This would be mainly for our presently 2 year old son to get more immersion in Spanish, learn about his Peruvian culture, and of course get to know his Peruvian relatives a lot better.

I'm just wondering when would this be the best time for him, when he's very young say 4 - 7 or at the end of primary school (7-10) or when he's at secondary school say 10 - 13? At the moment I'm thinking 7 to 10 would be the best time as then he would then remember so much more than if he went earlier, and he would be able to appreciate some of the cultural differences more. And it wouldn't disrupt his secondary schooling so much.

But I'd be interested in anyone elses opinion and perspective.

Of course there are other factors such as when my wife and I might prefer to go and when it would be practicable for our careers etc, but for the moment I'm just wondering what would be best for our son. I've lived in Peru for over six years so I know it pretty well, and of course so does my wife, so we know Peru but knowing what's best for children in Peru and in the UK etc. that I find more difficult.


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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby calledtoperu2009 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:46 pm

I would suggest the earlier the better. I have noticed that the younger the child the easier the OVERALL process can be. The older a child is the more inclined they become to the language they are used to. The biggest cultural learning tool is the language. They really can't understand the culture and the people if they are not grasping the language.

We have numerous friends that are in this process now, and I am in complete shock. Peruvians take kindly to little children especially, so their patience with them is phenomenal. I have seen 2-3 year old blond haired blue eyed children speaking perfect Spanish. It makes me excited, sick, and jealous all at the same time. I know that is partially because of the Peruvian culture concerning children. However, in child development classes for psychology the rule of thumb is always the earlier the better... (if at all possible).

Simply my two cents... At the end of the day, you will make a decision and run with it; making the best of each situation! Have fun!!!
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby sunflower » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:50 am

I can't give you "the" answer to your question, but would like to share my personal experience.

My today 12 year old son grew up in Africa until he was seven. He spoke (for a seven year old) fluently English and Swahili, as well as French (he went to a French kindergarten and school) and German (my main language). He loved living in Africa, was a happy and confident child. Unfortunately we had to go back to Germany, for him a real shock. He couldn't adjust to his new life and didn't like Germany. He had a hard time finding new friends and getting used to the new situation. He lost all of his Swahili and French knowledge. German became his main, English his second language. After a while he somehow managed, but was very unhappy and insecure. After nearly two years in Germany we moved to Peru. Here he quite quickly regained his former happiness and confidence. Within a short time he learned Spanish and adjusted to his new environment. Three years later he is fluent in German, English and Spanish and well settled.

My today 6 year old daughter spent her first year in Africa, then nearly two years in Germany. A time she can't really remember. When we came to Peru she was three. She quickly settled and learned Spanish in no time. Today she is one of the sweet, little, blond, sun tanned girls speaking Spanish and German fluently. But she didn't only adapt to the language. No, she as well adapted to the Peruvian way a living and how children her age interact and behave. Something I really have a problem with.

From my experience I would say moving to another country is always easier when your kids are younger. But when you are planning to move back a few years later, you will probably get some kind of problems anyway. I think it depends as well on your child and your own situation.

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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby Kelly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:40 am

What was it about moving to Germany that made the change so difficult for your son? This is one of the things I worry about for my kids.
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby tomsax » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:36 pm

The answers above indicate the earlier the better. I think this is a wake up call for us to think about it in greater detail as there is the danger we will just keep putting it off until he is a lot older.

While I love Peru and can rationally conclude that it is probably best for him to go at a young age I find my self reacting protectively on an emotional level, thinking of the dangers of travel in taxis and buses, him electrocuting himself on the rather dodgy electrics in his grandparents/uncles/aunts house and (more irrationally) being kidnapped by crazed criminals bent on financial rewards from gringos. I guess there is a possibility that whatever age he is I will think of something new to protect him from.

He is learning Spanish from his mum and I am sure he will understand Spanish well all his life. I hope that he also learns to speak it too from a young age but am not sure that will happen. We know many children of Anglo Peruvian/Spanish/Latin American parents here and the children often seem to reply always in English though they understand everything there mother/father is saying in Spanish. But the main thing is that he should know and be proud of his Peruvian side of the family. Maybe holidays and long stays back in Peru with mum will be enough for that, but I also like the idea of being over there with them in Peru for a long length of time.
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby excaliguy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:35 pm

Eve,

Was curious what about how children interact here you have a problem with, that was an interesting comment. I am around Peruvian children frequently but don't understand enough of the language to really pick up the dynamics at all.

"No, she as well adapted to the Peruvian way a living and how children her age interact and behave. Something I really have a problem with. "
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby sonia » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:26 am

I agree that international moves are easier when children are younger. In my view, the best time to make a move like the one you describe would be in the early elementary school years. Older children have a harder time, partly because they have more to leave behind, like their identity with their peers, and they have a stonger sense of belonging to a cultural or national group and not just to their immediate family.

One of the big myths some people carry, is that moving from Lima to the US, or to another developed country, will provide their children with a better elementary or high school education. If the child has attended one of the few very good private or international schools in Lima, there will be few public schools in the US that can match it in academic rigor and discipline. Even a very expensive independent private school in the US will not guarantee an education better than what was available in one of Lima's top schools. My family and I are familiar with the experience of moving children internationally and with all the educational options available in a major US East Coast metropolitan area and can attest to this.

I attended school in Lima, kindergarten through 12th grade, and I received a worldclass education, and a native-level mastery of both English and Spanish. I studied at prestigious US universities and never felt academically unprepared.

So, if you coming to Peru for a few years with the intention of returning to the UK later, my advice would be to come when the child is young, let's say kindergarten age, and select one of Lima's top international
schools where English is part of the daily curriculum. Your child will be ahead academically, but will need all your support when you leave and return to the hard reality of the UK.
Last edited by sonia on Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby Ruud » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:58 am

That comment of Eva made me also curious.

I have a 20 months old daughter. She is going to kindergarten in Tarapoto. What I absolutely do not like is how they teach girl from 2 years and older to dance and look seductive. And also what they call 'modelling'. Maybe that is just a 'Selva' thing, but it is not the mindset I would like to give my daughter.

What I found out, and what I don't like is that Peruvian kindergardens (preliminary schools), try to 'teach' the children. By that I mean learning tricks, and preferable in groups. (for example draw within the lines!)
Most of then claim they teach English and some even have netbooks. Friend of us send a little boy to one of these schools and they are very proud that the boy could say rojo/red, azul/blue.
In my opinion this type of dog training does not optimize the development of the little child.
The kindergaten schould be a place where children can interact and play and where professional teachers stimulate the development of the child by offering extra challenges in their play.
Probably this is just wishful thinking, but lucky enough I have found one that is more stimulating that the others.

They other day however they surprised me. On Friday, they gave us an note with instructions for homework! Since the 20 month old is not able to do this, that meant we were suppose to do homework!(which I refused). Is this a normal thing in Peru?

Lenonarro

excaliguy wrote:Eve,

Was curious what about how children interact here you have a problem with, that was an interesting comment. I am around Peruvian children frequently but don't understand enough of the language to really pick up the dynamics at all.

"No, she as well adapted to the Peruvian way a living and how children her age interact and behave. Something I really have a problem with. "
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby LauraMH » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:55 am

These comments are really helpful and anecdotes of experiences. I have always been confused at what age they begin school here and why and what they do in these places. I really want to delay my child going into school as late as possible if this is how it is in the early years. I'd rather have a small daycare at home and do it myself. I think the first 5-7 years are soooooooooo important.
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby sonia » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:53 am

I agree with you Laura. I think that when there is a parent at home full-time attending to the child and introducing him or her to the world through games, books, and activities that help discover the surroundings, attendance at a formal preschool or school can wait until the child is four or even five years old.

Unfortunately, in some families both parents must work full-time, and in Peru that might mean the child would spend the day with a maid. Maybe in those cases, it is best if the child spends at least part of the day in a daycare center or preschool. I don't know.

Parents make the best decisions they can for their children. I am grateful I was a stay-at-home mother for many years. My daughter started attending a morning preschool program when she was four, and not having done so earlier was never a disadvantage.
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby tomsax » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:53 pm

I assume that there would be a good enough school in Peru for our son, although I'm sure we would have to look for one we liked. I agree with a comment on another thread that the public schools would probably not be up to the required standard although I'd be happy to be proved wrong. I used to be a primary teacher so I have particular ideas on how schools should work. And of course I, like many others, suffer from the common presumption that the sort of education I received must be a good one, as I turned out just so excellently!
It is very important to me education that fosters creativity and independent thought, as well as excellence in language skills, maths and science. I don't know Peruvian private schools very well but I worked in a very expensive prestigious bilingual school in Colombia where the educational standard, as far as I'm concerned, was in many respects worse than that in many state schools in the UK though the grounds were wonderful and the prestige of having gone to the school was immense. There were other private schools that seemed to be better and a lot cheaper. But that was a long time ago in a different country.

But yes, going at an early stage seems to be the consensus. If we go when he's 5 that will be in three years time. That would just about give me time to work towards a job over there. The problem is that my wife will probably be working then so she might not want to give up a job in the UK to go back to Peru again!
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Re: Best age for a half Peruvian child to live some time in Peru

Postby kcure » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:50 am

Great information here. I don't mean to reduplicate anyone's efforts in their responses but here is our story.

Firstly, We live in Lima in a middle class neighborhood. The reason I say that is that there are soo many different experiences from all expats living in all parts of Peru (Jungle, Desert, Mountains, City, etc etc). We live here with our 2 sons (5 and 7). My wife is a free lance photographer and I am an independent human resources consultant (recruiter).

Secondly, Our motive to move to Peru after my wife spent 12 years living in the US (me and two kids later), was primarily and most importantly for the children. They are both American and Peruvian and spoke only English while in the US (as did we). We wanted our children to connect with the language, culture, family, and traditions of Peru. We made the decision to move at this age because we did as much research as one could humanly do on children and their ability to learn a new language and interchange their cultural norms. They were 4 and 6 when we arrived, which given our findings was the absolute best ages....while any age after 4 but before 11 is best to absorb a new language....with school years opposite those of the States and their specific ages, we decided to go and bought the tickets....ONE WAY to LIMA and backwards planned our way into the departure. Sell / Rent home, pack, sell furniture, pack, arrange for pets transport, store important particulars, etc etc.

Finally, We have been here 7 months. Our children are learning more and more Spanish and can now articulate well enough for anyone to understand them. My oldest reads, writes, and attends classes (2nd grade) in a private catholic school all in Spanish (less the English class which he excels in ....lol). One of the most interesting things is that my youngest son speaks Spanish with virtually not accent (like his family) and my oldest speaks more like me (with a noticeable English accent).

So for my two cents, sooner is better than later. Once you get here you will obviously adapt. The kids will thrive with the support of their family. Depending upon where you live will depend how much adaptation you will need to do (you made mention of "baby proofing"). If you have been here visiting before then you have a good idea of what to expect. Just temper your expectations a bit only to give yourself time to adapt. It is not that hard and really fun to immerse yourself in a new culture, regardless whether you speak Spanish well or not, you will learn!

If your going to do it, BUY THE TICKET! You will only regret not doing it if you don't. Don't be one of those "IDA's" I wish Ida went to peru, I wish Ida done this or that...........
Regards,

Kevin

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