27 Nov Happy Way Nursery School, Barcelona
The Nanny Line recently spent some time at Happy Way, a unique chain of pre-schools here in Barcelona. With three different locations around the city, this trilingual pre-school splits the teaching into English, Spanish and Catalan equally.
We joined the founder of this high quality pre-school chain, Natalia, for a chat about her project, her ideas behind her development of these schools and every day life at Happy Way.
How did it all start?
I started the pre-school 10 years ago, and my dream was to create a nursery where there was a strong educational project in place. I wanted to do something more than the usual pre-school curriculum, something that went over and above the norm.
What is the idea behind your methodology?
The idea is not just to vigilate and keep the children occupied, but to work with emotional intelligence in order to optimize their development. We offer a variety of activities including music classes in collaboration with L’Auditori de Barcelona, art classes in collaboration with Fundacion Miro and the works of Joan Miro, and mathematics tailored to each child’s specific age and level. Between the ages of 0 and 3 is the best time to stimulate a child’s neurological connections, so this is a crucial part of their intellectual development.
Why is it important to have this variety of education?
If children are occupied all the time, they don’t have time to misbehave. They are always engaged. Parents have said to me before: “it’s very strange that children don’t cry here”. Children are kept positively occupied all the time so there is no room for them to get upset unnecessarily. Children are well prepared for school and for the future due to the variety of activities that we provide at Happy Way.
What does the school offer that makes it stand out from other pre-schools?
Along with our powerful educational projects and effective methodology, we also provide a range of services and offer flexible timetables which really helps out some families. The most important thing for us is that our families trust us. We make Happy Way into somewhere trustworthy where parents can leave their child for a huge portion of their early years. Lots of parents don’t initially believe how effective this methodology can be until they see the results. We have webcams for parents – this means that the parents and all extended family from around the world can check on their child and what they are up to at school whenever they want. There is also a a lot of communication from us to the parents including regular photos, updates and events. They never have any doubt about what is going on at school. Parents are often invited to the school, too. The parents are often amazed at the results of our educational projects and the positive changes in their child over a short amount of time.
Do your schools appear to both local and expat families alike?
There is a balanced mixture of expat, local and international families who attend our schools. For local families it can simple be a question of preparing their children for later life and wanting a broader and more diverse means of early years education. Having the three equal languages are important to both expats and locals for children to prepare for a future in Barcelona or elsewhere. Normally expat parents want something a little higher quality because they don’t usually have the recommendations or family connections of other reliable public pre-schools in Barcelona so they want to be sure and have somewhere that they can trust.
In each school, our educational projects are the same, but the families are different. The services and flexible hours are 7am- 9pm important to families who work, and who don’t have extended family here in Barcelona.
What advice would you give to new expat families who move to Barcelona?
Barcelona is amazing for young children, a lot to do, a lot of services for them. Happy Way has a newsletter for what to do with your children every week, info for parents. Events for parents, social events at the school, parents can get to know each other – good for parents to make friends and for children to socialize outside of the school too – early connections are very important for the children too, on weekends etc. A lot of parents have made strong bonds through the school. It’s important to do some networking, to know options before you choose a nursery and see what fits your child best. Be sure of your choice
How many of the families use childcare services and how often?
Most of them, at least a couple of times a week, and on weekends. We aim to provide a high quality and reliable childcare service and for this reason we are happy to collaborate with The Nanny Line!
From a personal point of view, we really can say that Happy Way has an amazing atmosphere. As soon as you walk in the door there is a kind of serenity and happiness, aided by the beautiful decor and upbeat teachers and employees. It seems like a nursery which really cares about each individual child.
We are thrilled to be collaborating with them, and providing all Happy Way parents with a reliable source of childcare whenever they may need it.
For more information and to see the great work the team over at Happy Way do visit their website https://www.escuelashappyway.com/.