RAISING CHILDREN IN ROATAN
A common concern for potential expats pertains to raising children in Roatan. Your options are plentiful in Roatan whether you already have children or are considering starting a family in Roatan. Expats who live in Roatan have children of all ages and school grades. No need to worry, you will not be the only family on the island.
On the island, there's a mentality that "it takes a village to raise a child." The island is part of Latin America, and Roatan is tight-knit and family-centric. Many expats find that new friends quickly become part of their family. Children in Roatan and many Latin American cities the parent's friends are treated as the children's aunts and uncles. On Roatan island, you will also find that retired expats treat friends children as their grandchildren.
Four years ago Kirsty Doig gave birth to her daughter, Spencer Rose, in a hospital in La Ceiba. She moved to Roatan a little before her due date. Kristy found the Roatan community to be quite welcoming. She also praised the doctors for treating her like family and making her feel the most comfortable she had been through her entire pregnancy.
Her daughter now attends a Montessori on the East of Coral Stone Center in Sandy Bay called Discovery Bay. Discover Bay starts enrollment for kids age 3 to 7th grade. The PreK class there is primarily in English and instruction includes music, reading, writing, computers, arts, crafts and Spanish. They also make time for outdoor play. The classes are similar to the North American school system. In the summer they offer various month-long summer camps.
Here are more options for Pre School and Primary School:
Island Academy (previously named Sandy Bay Alternative School): The school is located in Sandy Bay and offers U.S. homeschool program for students K-12. The program is aimed at preparing students who desire to enter the U.S. college or university after they graduate from Island Academy. The school incorporates art, music, language, and sports into their programming to offer students a well-rounded education. The school has partnered with Calvert Curriculum Program for PreK through 8th grade. The Bridge School is for grades 9th - 12th grade. Calvert Curriculum gives the school the ability to test and place all students based on the same standards as the U.S. The partnership with the Bridge School offers access to the students to take accredited courses, electives and AP classes in preparation for their college education.
Roatan Bilingual School (ESBIR): The school is in Coxen Hole. It's the oldest school on the island and offers a structured education style. The school is well established and has a large campus. The bilingual school follows a North American schedule.
Bay Island International School is located on Sandy Bay and offers Kindergarten through 6th grade. The school implements common core and collaborates with U.S. schools to ensure best practices.
The listed schools are all private, but there are other schools in French Harbour and further east on the island.
In Roatan, the public schools are sub-par in comparison to the private schools on the island. In Honduras, public education is required only through the 6th grade. The Honduras school system has serious funding issues and lacks leadership. It's unlikely that expat families choose to send their children to a public school.
Another option that expats are taking is to homeschool their children. Many are doing it full-time or opting for a combination of homeschool and private school education. The cost of living in Roatan is typically lower than in North America allowing families to live off one income providing the opportunity for one parent to stay home and homeschool their children.
CHILDREN IN ROATAN
Kids in Roatan have many of the same experiences that children of North America have, such as play dates, birthday parties, homework, etc. Although they have many of the same experiences, they also benefit from the diversity of things to do on the island.
There are expats from all over the world and the children on the island are also exposed to an array of cultures. Kids spend time learning about marine life with real-life experiences on the beach and explore the world around them much more than children in urban cities. Kids in Roatan are not spending their time playing video games or watching endless amounts of television, but instead exploring the world around them.
STARTING A FAMILY IN ROATAN
If you are considering in starting a family in Roatan, you should know that all children born in Honduras are Honduran by birth. The child can have dual citizenship. After the child is born, the hospital will issue a birth statement that will allow you to get a Honduran Birth Certificate at the Registro Nacional de las Personas (National Person Registry) in Coxen Hole or the city where the child was born. If one or both of the parents is a foreign national once the Honduran Birth Certificate is received, you can apply for citizenship of your country of origin at the local embassy. Consult your embassy for the paperwork and process required to obtain citizenship.
CLOTHING & TOYS FOR CHILDREN
Clothing and toys for kids are readily available on the island. In Roatan, there are various stores with kids clothing and toys. The best shops on the island for children are J&J Kid's Store in French Harbour, Nichita in French Harbour, Kids Corner in Coxen Hole, Sasha's Children Castle in Coxen Hole, Tienda Fino in Coxen Hole, and both Carrion stores. A ferry trip away you can go to La Ceiba on the mainland for more options for kids clothing but also furniture and bulk items. There are also second-hand stores selling things like high-chairs, stroller, and other baby items.
HEALTHCARE IN ROATAN
Children in Roatan get hurt just like in other parts of the world. The island does not have the best healthcare facilities, but some doctors can take care of injuries that kids typically get. For something more serious you would need to travel to a larger city to have access to better facilities. This approach would be the same if you lived in a remote town in another part of the world, you would need to travel to a more prominent city to gain better healthcare assistance. On the island, there are pediatricians at local clinics and specialists that go to the island from the mainland.