Canadian ‘boat kids’ to attend elementary school in Luperon

People say our kids will learn Spanish fast. Let’s hope so. We are from Ottawa, Canada. In about a month, all four of our kids will start public school in Luperon, Dominican Republic (DR). The school is currently closed for renovations.

Our kids outside Escuela Pedro Alejandro Pina (the public elementary school in Luperon)

Our kids are 10, 8 and 5 year-old twins. None of our children speak Spanish, although my older children are taking Spanish lessons at the moment. They attend the George Washington Language Institute for one hour, three times a week. And, we have been homeschooling our kids for a year.

I will be using the Spanish Rosetta Stone program to help our twins get ready for school. And, my older kids will stop taking Spanish lessons at the Language Institute when public school begins.

At the public school, tuition is free, and meals are provided at no cost. The private Christian school would have cost $2 per child per month. But, they were full and could not accommodate our twins.

I expect that learning a new language in a new school will be difficult. Meeting the schedule will require military-like discipline. And, keeping uniforms clean and fresh – I’m losing my mind thinking about it.But, we think that the school will provide our kids with a fantastic opportunity. They will learn Spanish and make friends their own age.

Five year-old twins Henry and Karen in their new school shirts

School is from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The dinghy dock is a 25-minute walk to the school. We could take a motoconcho if we were running late, but I prefer to walk. We need to seek opportunities for exercise when living on a boat.

Today, we went shopping for school uniforms at a shop called “Tienda Berenice”. With four kids, it was very busy, but we managed. The uniform consists of beige pants and blue shirt. A complete outfit (pants and shirt) costs $15 US. Each shirt is embroidered with a representation of Pedro A. Pina. The school is named after him. He was one of the founding fathers of the DR.

Betty (age 10) in her new school uniform.

A local fisherman is very interested in seeing our kids go to the local school. He has volunteered to keep us updated on the renovation work at the school. When school begins my husband and I will have more time to get some jobs done on the boat.We plan to leave the DR shortly before Christmas. While the traditional school experience in Luperon will be short-lived, I’m sure that it will not be easily forgotten.


  1. What a great opportunity to experience international education 🙂
    They will be novelties for sure but so well rounded they will do great! Bravo😎


  2. Hi …we sailed on JUCA for a couple of years and our kids went to school in Luperon, they are still talking about it and learned spanish very fast and well …. good luck and its always great to give our kids the opportunity to meet different kids and go to different schools and experience different school system…. We had New Zealand, Caribbean, homeschooling and adding the German public school system to our list at present. Big hug and all the best for the future… Gabriele Oltersdorf


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