Attending School in San Ignacio, Belize

The kids began at another new school yesterday. Sacred Heart Primary School is a Catholic school with an enrollment of 1,000 kids that’s set high on a hillside in San Ignacio. When we first visited the vice principal, Miss Marta Madrid, a couple of weeks ago, she was very welcoming and seemed delighted to have our kids attend their school. As I understand it, we are among only a few other expat kids who attend the school, although they have had several over the years. We are blessed to have found Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart School Grounds 2

Two of our kids had a little trouble adjusting. I was surprised at this, since most everyone seemed extremely friendly and helpful. When the children in Laura’s new class heard she would join them, an excited murmur ran through the group of little girls around me. “We have a new student! We have a new student!” One little girl standing next to Laura touched her hair. I’ve seen this many times. Not many Belizeans have golden blonde hair like my daughter!

I was a little less surprised that Brenny felt ill at ease, since the kids in his class are 12 or 13 and he’s only 10. There’s a big difference between those years, no matter where you are in the world.

Andy, on the other hand, a.k.a. Doogie Howser, did just fine. He made friends right away and was even asked to join the football (soccer) team, which practices in the park right next to our rental house.

I hope they are all doing better today.

Laura First Day of School in SI 2 Laura's First Day in SI

I waited to leave until after Laura’s class said morning devotions. Although we attended a Catholic grade school in the States, our kids aren’t used to praying as often in the course of the school day as they did yesterday. It was very sweet to hear their little voices saying a morning prayer and then an Our Father and Hail Mary for good measure. Afterward, they chanted in a sing-songy way, “Good morning, Teacher! Good morning, Classmates!”

Sacred Heart School Grounds

The tuition for each child was $25US for the rest of the year, with an additional $15US for Laura’s music program in Standard 2.

The boys are both in Standard 6 at this moment (which was where they were placed in the school down in Monkey River). This school is a little more advanced than its counterpart down south, however, and I’m wondering if they should both be in that Standard. As I mentioned, they are with kids who are 12 or 13 – maybe some are even older. If we were to stay in Belize indefinitely, they boys would be attending high school next year. That would be jumping the gun for my little guys. I plan to speak with the principal today and talk about moving them back a standard or two, depending on what she thinks.

Sacred Heart School Grounds 3

After I dropped them off yesterday, I had to run down the hill to copy their passports for the school records. I happily skipped down the hill, not thinking about the trip BACK UP. Oh my good Lord, I almost had a heart attack. And then, when I got to the top of the school grounds to leave out of the gate I had used in the morning, an Infants 1 (preschool) teacher met me and said, “Oh, the gate is locked for the day.” Ugh. I’m going to have legs of steel by the time we leave San Ignacio. :)

Sacred Heart School Grounds 4

We’re so glad we made this move, to Belize and now to San Ignacio specifically. Not every part of this journey is easy but we are all learning to accept change gracefully and with humor. What can’t the kids conquer after they have conquered this?

3 Kids First Day of School in SI

Thanks to all of you for reading along! I have to run. There’s a fair at school this afternoon, complete with a BBQ chicken lunch. All of the proceeds go toward the school, which always needs funds, not unlike any other Catholic grade school I’ve ever heard of.

And Kevin just walked in with a small spicy meat pie, a couple of chocolate croissants, and a coffee pot (which we can actually use now that we’ve rejoined the grid). I love that man!

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Writer, mother of four awesome kids, and free thinker, Domini Hedderman is the author of the book, Exit Normal: How We Escaped With Our Family and Changed Our Life, which tells the story of her family's six-month sabbatical in Belize. Since the trip, she and her family are homeschooling and traveling extensively. Her soul mission is to inspire others to live the life of their dreams. Check out her other website at

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9 thoughts on “Attending School in San Ignacio, Belize

  1. Sounds like a great move. I was getting kind of worried about you guys–it was too isolated at your previous place. You need beauty and people!

  2. Schools are very different here in Belize because unlike CatholicSchools in the States they get little if any help from the Diocese. Therefore all the bills, Electric, water, maintenance, etc have to be paid by the school it self. The Ministry of Education pays the salaries. I can tell you that this will be one of many fairs or fund raising events that you will attend. I can also tell you that you will be amazed at the amount of time off the children will have off

  3. thanks for sharing your story with us it was good to hear I have been trying to find out about schools there as we are planning a move in the next year to San Ignacio also. My children will be 13 and 14 when we move…

  4. My husband and I and my 15 year old son have work we have been offered in BElize. Naturally, we wish to have our son continue to go to school. We are not familiar wiith the high schools in Belize. CAn you give us info?
    Thanks :)


    • Hi Monica. Since my kids were in primary school in Belize, I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge about high schools. I think it depends on what town/area you are settling in. I do know there are some very good schools and some not-so-good schools. If you tell me where in Belize you’re headed, I may be able to put you in touch with someone who knows more than I do about the subject.

      • Thanks for responding! We are looking to settle in Belmopan. We understand that is the capital and government center and assume expatriate kids may also attend schools there. Hopefully high school students. We appreciate any help and info we can obtain. Monica.

        • Hi Monica! My name is Sedona and Most of my family lives in Belize. Anyway, if your son is 15, he would be in the highest grade, and would graduate at 16. Hope this helped!!

          • Hello. My son is autistic and I am wondering what, if any, resources would exist for him in Belize, in the Corozal District.

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