There’s a critical remark. We will review opportunities for informal education only. For instance, we won’t concern music schools in the classical sense. Instead, we will talk about more flexible, free activities which are closely connected to kids’ everyday practices and don’t create any pressure of doing homework, preparing for exams, etc.
Another critical remark is that Split has a powerful sports tradition. Split can flaunt a vast number of Olympic and other medal winners per capita. Split was well-known for its football and water polo teams during the last century, and although it doesn’t experience its ‘golden age’ now, a sports sphere is still vibrant enough, competitive, and dynamic. Also, sports activities are related to informal education.
How to choose
According to Ivana’s teaching experience in Split, the most common reasons for choosing a club or courses for kids is because:
1) A parent wishes this activity for a kid.
It’s a normal situation, especially when a child is still young. Parents with their horizons can give a child good advice or starting points for leisure time activities.
2) A kid’s friend visits this club.
“My friend Mia goes, and I want to go with her.” Encourage your kid’s friendship and let it go. Then, at least, children will be happy to spend free time together in the informal atmosphere. If one of the friends finally does not like an activity, they will change and at the same time will acquire the skill to compromise with a friend.
3) A club is situated in your neighbourhood.
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia, but still small enough. Citizens don’t usually change districts for extra classes. Children often visit a club situated in the vicinity of their home or school. For example, in the district of Spinut many students play rugby because there’s a rugby field. Of course, if you live in some district as far from the city center district as Brda, you have to be ready to go to another district for extracurricular activities. There is not a lot nearby, perhaps, except for dance classes.
4) Specific interest
Classical ballet dances or playing football for a famous club (definitely Hajduk Split), programming, or whatever else that could be inspired by pop culture a child lives in. Support your kid’s interest, especially with almost all activities given in Split. We don’t have ice hockey or figure skating in Split, but Split is a coastal summer city, so it’s not expected here.
What to choose: for young learners
Ciciban and Sports academy Sportko are good choices for preschoolers. These clubs offer kids a wide range of possibilities to develop fine motor skills and try different activities. Both clubs can be a great help to prepare a child for further sports education. It will be easier for kids to become a member of some football, volleyball, or swimming team or have fun and A+ grades at physical education lessons at school.
Sportsko takes children from 3 y.o. and works with age groups 3-7 and 7-10. Its full-year program includes gymnastics, athletics, football, handball, tennis, bowling, judo and wrestling, movement orientation, and some others. They also have independent swimming, football, roller skating, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, and others. Ciciban starts from 5 y.o. and has groups 5-6 and 7-10. Ciciban programs include various sports activities and swimming once a week. Both clubs are large in several students and fit for socialization objectives. The fact they conduct summer and winter camps can be considered an advantage too.
Sports academy Sparta, as well as Sportko, works with children from 3 to 10 y.o. Through a dozen sports activities mixed with singing songs and entertainment, the academy develops kids’ motor skills and motivates them to lead healthy lifestyles. Besides sports sections, Sparta has a commercial part with toy shops and the. organisation of children’s birthdays. They are active on social media; write them if you have any questions.
Zutko sports school in Split pursues the same goal – to instill in children a love of sports. Zutko is founded and managed by the base of the Split Basketball club. They take groups of 3-6 and 7-10 y.o. three times a week classes. A working program consists of essential sports such as athletics, gymnastics, martial arts, and ball sports such as basketball, etc. Highly recommended for developing team-working skills. Athletic school Proaktiv trains children from 7 to 10 y.o.
For more artistic activities, Split can offer pre-scholars studio Perlice or ballet studio Skoljkica. Skoljkica specializes in ballet dances, while Perlice teaches singing, dances, stage movement, and stage speech. Perlice studio has a rich history with its founder, musician Ingrid Flesch. They perform theatrical musicals, stage programs, record sounds, win awards at festivals, release videos with 120+ mln views on Youtube.
The younger, the better, Mrs. Flesch says about the enrollment age in the studio. The youngest artist of Perlice has 3.5 y.o., the eldest – 10. At Skoljkica, the threshold age is higher. They educate children from kindergarten age up to the last year of secondary school. Baletni studio Labudici presents ballet classes in the surroundings of Split. The troupes are based in Solin, but performances are often shoulder to shoulder to Split troupes.
Glazbena mladez Split sees its mission in connecting children and young people with musical culture. GMS accents classical music, but as a whole, they encourage every musical genre and style. GMS is also a cluster of performing troupes with 170+ various programmes in a year; it provides children scope for creative expression. GMS familiarizes kids with music and theatrical art, audience, and rules of cultural behaviour. A team of Playdrama promotes participation of all generations in theatrical art too. Since its program includes lectures and production process stuss, they enroll children from 9 y.o.
To develop the cognitive abilities of a kid, Malac Genijalac is a convenient option in Split. ‘Genius kiddo,’ as the school’s name can be translated, offers three mathematical programmes: Numicon for 3-6 y.o, Mentalna aritmetika for 4-12 y.o. and Super Um for 10-17 y.o. Classes are held in small groups. The learning process contains fun activities, games, and competitions. Abilities that children gain through learning will be helpful not only in math lessons but in different spheres of life.
Excluding bilinguals which are extraordinary stories, children usually begin to learn a foreign language since primary school, 7 y.o. However, tutors say that you can start with learning languages earlier – since the primary speech apparatus is totally formed. The average is 4 years old, but in any case, you can ask for a trial session and consult with a teacher before paying for a course. Language schools such as Anglija, Wotan, Katedra, Tweety, Pitagora in Split take children from kindergarten.
For elder children
The first decade passed, children are mature enough to join some of the ‘entertainment sphere’s pillars’ of Split or start their own track in sport, etc. KUD Edinstvo recently celebrated its 100 anniversary. One of the oldest and most famous Croatian artistic troupes keeps folklore traditions of different country regions and transmits them to new generations through well-organized infrastructure.
Edinstvo maintains a folklore dancing school, a music school for mandolin and guitar players, and a children’s ensemble. Folklore dancing enrolls kids from 1st to 8th grade of the school (primary+lower secondary). Mandoline and guitar teachers allow students from 9 to 18 y.o. Music courses last for three years. A lighter alternative is any dancing troupe. Manage your choice independence of proximity to your neighbourhood and style preferences. Centar plesa (wide profile), Sedmi vjetar (cheerleaders), D’N’F (urban dances), Lolita (wide profile), Vruca cokolada (show and jazz dances), Lambada (Litin American dances), Clique (hip-hop, house, funk dances) and others. KUD Splitske mazoretkinje is an extraordinary story for girls who love twists!
Waterpolo club Jadran celebrated its 100th jubilee last year. Jadran is the oldest water polo club in Split and a sports pride of the city. Waterpolo Club Mornar-Brodospas, with many medals and trophies won, is a bit younger; it celebrated 70 years from the foundation of the sports section in 2019. Waterpolo school usually holds classes in the mornings, then the teams come. Depending on age, clubs have ‘hopes and young hopes,’ ‘young cadets,’ ‘cadets,’ ‘young juniors,’ and ‘juniors’ teams. The application form is available on their website.
Basketball, another sport that brought Split great sporting fame during Yugoslavia, is played and mastered by children in Kosarkaski Klub Split. Besides the universal sports academy for kids, KK Split has a basketball school for boys of 15 y.o. and younger and a mini-basket for girls of 18 y.o. and younger. ZKK 3 Point also approaches girls. Zenski Kosarkaski Klub is literally a ‘Women Basketball Club’. It aims to teach skills, instill a love for the sport, and help with self-confidence. KK Adriatic recruits both boys and girls; training is held on the courts of four different schools in Split and surroundings so that you can find the closest to your house.
The same rule can be applied to football. There are some clubs in almost every district of Split: NK Pomak, NK Bili As, NK Brda, NK Primorac-Stobrec, NK Talent, etc. These clubs began to recruit kids from kindergarten age, and it’s one more reason to choose the closest one. NK Bili As and Brda train kids from primary school, and on average, the football club calls for 13 y.o. and younger. NK Pomak opens its doors for boys and girls. Especially for girls, there is ZNK Marjan – Women Football Club. Futsal, or ‘mini football’, is presented by FC Split that has its academy and young teams of ‘cadets’ and ‘juniors.’
An exception is HNK Hajduk academy. If you fancy it, you can put your child there to have football training, fitness, psychological talks, educational seminars, English lessons, and social work at the same place. A fact you need to consider is that its time- and resource-consuming, so football training 3 times during working days and a match on the weekend would be difficult to combine with other classes or courses.
To train the hands of the young generation, Split has tennis or handball. TK Pomak and Tenis Klub Split 1950 teach children to hold a racket, balance energy, and get pleasure from the game. Clubs encourage professional tennis tracks as well as playing for recreation purposes. There is also women-led handball education in Split. Women Handball Club ZRK Split occupies a unique place in a region: the first league club with 70 years of history and 150+ members enrolling girls in five age categories. A good place for your future wonder women!
A kind of comprehensive training for the body is swimming that can be found by the above-mentioned water polo clubs Mornar and Jadran or in swimming clubs like Grdelin and Posk. Both are based in the Poljud pools. In any case, water skills will be useful in the coastal city of Split. Don’t refuse an offer to take a trial training to understand whether this sport fits your child’s temper.
The majority of students start learning foreign languages in the first or second grade of primary school. If you suppose that language classes in a school are not enough or you want to give a child another, there are many language courses in Split. When your child is already a student, we can add several others to the above-mentioned list of schools that teach kids since kindergarten. Eduka Center in Split conducts programs on English and French and has an interesting program on faster reading and learning for children from 12 y.o. Inicijativa center also has some educational programs besides English in individual, group, express, and business forms.
Viktorija teaches groups of primary and secondary school students, groups who fancy improving their speaking, and individual students. Sintagma suits children as well as their parents. Besides six other languages, they teach Croatian as a foreign language and prepare for professional translation. Alliance Francaise in Split is certainly good to learn French, Dolphin – to learn German, and Jantar is probably good for studying Russian as I can guess from the name (they teach other languages too).
Programming languages are equally important nowadays, and coding classes promise to prepare our children for a digital future. Codey Rocky – Inovatic could be a perfect place for beginners. They use popular global platforms like Lego Mindstorms, robot Maqueen microbit to gradually introduce children to designing, modelling, programming processes. Logischool focuses more on programming itself, and things can be produced using bare code – computers, games, applications, etc. School code course is recommended for 7-18 y.o. Robotics Lego is 10-18 y.o. Students are divided into different age groups. The school provides students with all necessary tools and doesn’t ask for any prerequisites.
For those children interested in nature, there’s an opportunity in the outskirts of Split. Zvezdano selo Mosor (star village Mosor) by the observatory situated in the Mosor mountains chain organizes a ‘small school of astronomy’ and ‘school in nature’ for primary and secondary school students. Lectures are held in their space in Split once a week. For field observations, students go to the Zvezdano selo; transportation issues can be discussed in private.
Teenage children can continue with supplementary activities. However, sometimes they want to change it because they’re not interested in a sports career or need more time for themselves or their spheres of interest change. Or, for instance, their family moved to Split.
Teenage boys are often into martial arts. Karate and taekwondo classes are present in the widest variety. Taekwondo club Marjan has eight sites in Split and the surrounding area. It trains kids from kindergarten, but here we will emphasize their program for ‘juniors.’ When children face growth, responsibility, peer pressure, and become teenagers, taekwondo helps them get perseverance and self-control. In addition, Aikido facilitates the development of flexibility, concentration, and coordination. Also, Aikido club Bonaca offers a handy 2-month course that doesn’t oblige you to anything.
A solution for teenage girls to keep self-confidence and body coordination is often proposed by dance studios. Clique, Dance Box, and Dance Crew United have younger groups but mostly target an older audience of dancers willing to drive, show, scene, expression. Sailing and rowing sports experience would be a valuable asset to take to college years. Mornar, Split, and Labud’s Sailing clubs have their sailing schools, and Zenta has even radio-controlled sailing that can be a good combination for those interested in both sport and physics.
Many college students in Croatia participate in student hiking clubs. Therefore Planinarski Klub Split will definitely be a good foundation for your child’s future. Split has many wonderful natural places nearby – Labištica, Opor, Kozjak, Mosor, Omiška Dinara, and Biokovo. Hiking will help a teenager keep fit, discover amazing trails, and change shifts and locations. An alternative for young people who like climbing but don’t enjoy long hikes could be the artificial climbing wall in the district of Znjan (SPK Lapis).
Spending almost a year in the Split scout association as an international volunteer, I would surely recommend it to any kid from 6 to 21 y.o. Scouts give a big improvement to general school education concerning nature, sociocultural, ethic issues. They put children in situations when they have to think by themselves and make collective decisions, finally to derive skills from their own life experience. And in particular, I’d recommend the scout movement for teenagers.
In my opinion, in this period of life, the scout environment can be most helpful for personal development. An overwhelming majority of sections and clubs mentioned above conduct camps, however with scouts, you participate so much in the organization of camps, can take the initiative, go first, etc. Furthermore, a pleasant bonus is travelling and meeting scouts from other countries – insensibly a big network is around you! Last but not least: scouts release you not only as an educated know-it-all or pumped-up athlete but a responsible citizen.