Sofia

Expat English-Language Schools and Kindergartens

08 Dec 2016

There is a great deal of choice for private English-language kindergarten and preschool education in Sofia, as many new excellent daycare centres catering to expats and Bulgarian alike have opened in the last few years. Many of these are in the leafy suburbs at the foot of Vitosha mountain, far from the traffic fumes, though more options are appearing for those that live in the centre.

Kindergartens can differ widely in philosophy, with some providing a more academic and structured environment and others focussing mostly on play or even offering alternative systems such as Montessori or Waldorf. Several of the most respected preschools offer established programmes such as the British Jolly Phonics, dancing, music, art and exercise classes. They usually organise ski school once or twice per season. Prices range from 600 - over 1000 leva per month for full day care, including lunch.

One other thing to look out for when choosing an English-language kindergarten in Sofia is the ratio of local children to foreign ones. Regardless of how good the teachers are, with too many local children who share the same language there is a danger of Bulgarian becoming the dominant language rather then the English that parents are paying for.

English-language education for older children in Sofia is more limited with only three 1st-7th grade schools available and six above 8th grade, offering the IB (International Baccalaureate) qualification or British A-levels.

There are also several German-language kindergartens and high schools, as well as a French-language kindergarten and a school affiliated to the French Embassy.

Though there are some very good Bulgarian state schools, we would only recommend going down that route if your child knows enough Bulgarian to feel comfortable and you are planning on staying long-term. Other options are private Bulgarian schools, which often teach part of the curriculum in English or German and part in Bulgarian, though again your child would need to know enough Bulgarian to get through the Bulgarian lessons.

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