If you are moving to Spain to learn about a different way of life, then learning the language is crucial. So much of the culture is conveyed through language, not to mention being able to listen to and get to know local people, attend events of interest and learn about your host country.
The more you know before you arrive, the sooner you will be able to find your feet and your place. It will also be easier for your children to integrate and make friends if they have some basic language skills before they arrive.
No problem if they don’t, just be prepared for the integration to take longer. I’d say it takes 4-5 months to become confident in the language but of course each person learns at a different pace and it depends if you have learnt a foreign language previously as this can speed up the process.
Learn Spanish at home
The thing about learning a language while still in your home country is to make it as fun as possible so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Although progress will be much slower than when you are immersed in the country and language, you will be grateful to have some basic language skills when you arrive.
Here are some ideas:
Learn Spanish in Spain
There are many language schools catering to foreigners in Spain. I tend to steer clear of the big schools like Don Quijote who have bought up many of the smaller schools. My rule of thumb is to study with the smaller, more personal schools or teachers.
In Granada I highly recommend the following:
Spanish For Families is a personalised program for families designed for those first arrival weeks. It consists of a two week course including conversation and vocabulary for both parents and children during the first week and a specific course for the children the second week and separate language coaching for parents or assistance with admin tasks in Spanish. This is great for navigating your new city. There is a special discount for Your Year in Spain customers.
Castila Language School is located in a pretty carmen in the Albaicin. It has small classes for all levels with a focus on grammar and conversation. They also have a special program designed for families arriving on sabbatical i.e. you can be flexible in your hours of study and they help prepare children for the start of the school year by teaching them Spanish and what to expect at school. Mention Your Year in Spain for a discount.
SHM language School is a small school located in an office building near the centre of Granada. The teachers are excellent and friendly and the standard is good. Mention Your Year in Spain for a discount.