Abuja City is a comfortable place to raise small children. Between organising your own playgroups, visiting hotel swimming pools, family-friendly eateries and the zoo, there are enough activities to keep children busy in the “old fashioned way”, without exposing them to commercial and electronic over load; secure compounds mean children have the freedom to enjoy the outdoors. Teens will be the ones most likely to miss the more “hip and trendy” things found in large cities. Below are some ideas, options and opportunities for entering and educating children.
There are many international schools in Abuja for pre-school, primary and secondary ages but the ones most foreigners consider are listed below. They are all relatively new and are getting fuller every year. Getting children registered and placed on a waiting list (or several) is a good thing to do as early s possible. All of these schools can be contacted by email and most have websites. It is recommended that schools are visited and other parents are spoken to about their experience prior to enrolment. Most people are satisfied with the more affluent Nigerians and foreigners families send their older children to boarding school. Thus, you may find more teenagers here during the holidays when their schools are on break. Most children have a lively social life and the school community can help broaden your families’ network of friends. After school clubs vary depending the staff and volunteers available for the term and are sometimes open to children from other schools.
The best way for young children to interact and for parents to meet other adults and learn new things about Abuja is to join or establish their own playgroup.
Playgroups usually last about two hours. They are held at the home of a different person each week on a volunteer rotational basis. They generally consist of “free play time” for the children and “coffee chat time” for the mothers or fathers that bring them. The community liaisons officers at the various Embassies should be aware of any existing playgroups. New ones are easy enough to establish simply by being aware of families as you move about (at the grocery stores, eateries, the zoo, and hotels), speaking with them and inviting them to help establish a new one.
Many of the schools have”after-school clubs” for their students. Some schools allow other students to participate in their clubs even though they do not attend the same school. Some of the clubs routinely offered include: gymnastics, art, swimming, modern dance ballet, Tae Kwon Do, computer, French, etc. The Transcorp Hilton arranges group lessons. Other places that offer kids activities are the Dome, Baby care and All about kids.
There are also individuals around who can provide music (mostly piano and guitar) lessons. As they change often, ask around at schools and within Embassy communities for available teachers.