Why choose bilingual education?
We think bilingual education is an important part of helping children prepare for the future. Research proves that children learn how to speak a second language better (pronunciation and vocabulary) if they learn it between the ages of 4 and 7, when they are most receptive to language, rather than in years 7 and 8. The internationalization of education also leads to better results and has a positive effect on the social and cultural development of pupils. Pupils that receive bilingual education are better at complex thinking, have better insight into languages in general, have better social skills and perform better in school.
Is bilingual education also suitable for children who are behind in their Dutch language skills?
Children who are behind in their Dutch skills will learn English with children who do speak Dutch well. They are not behind the class in this situation but work on the same level as others. This strengthens their language image and improves their confidence. International research has demonstrated that bilingual education has a positive effect on students who are behind in their language skills.
Why are the children in years 1 to 4 the only ones to receive bilingual education?
We are introducing it step-by-step. We don't want to change the whole program all at once. Parents enrolling their children for bilingual education need to receive the opportunity to choose to do so. It is not supposed to be an obligation. Starting in years 1 and 2 means that bilingual education will slowly filter through the school. Once the children in years 1 and 2 reach year 8 in 2021/2022, all years will have started receiving bilingual education.
Do other schools also provide bilingual education?
Other primary schools also teach in English. However, this is usually limited to 15% of the time. Plus, in most cases these are English classes. There's a huge difference. The Visserschool started providing fully bilingual education in the 2014/2015 school year. This means that at least 30% and no more than 50% of the classes are taught in English.
Who teaches classes in English?
All of our teachers will teach in English. Most of them are native of nearly native. All of your teachers have reached of are in training for the required C1 level.
Will children become confused if they speak Dutch one day, English another and sometimes a third language at home?
Research demonstrates that Dutch language development in children who do not speak Dutch as a first language does not suffer as a result of bilingual education. These children seem to cope just fine with bilingual education and enjoy it. Learning English also seems to effect the confidence level of foreign children as their English skills are the same as their Dutch classmates. In some ways, these children lead the pack as they are already familiar with learning a foreign language.
What happens if my child cannot keep up with the rest of the class?
Education at the Visserschool is always monitored by the board, internal supervisor, teachers and the schools inspectorate. Pupils' results are analyzed, discussed and followed. Children will receive extra help if they are struggling with a subject. The introduction of bilingual education will not effect this. Naturally, the school will continue to adhere to the standards set by the schools inspectorate.
How can parents keep an eye on their child's English language skills?
You will receive periodic updates about your child's progress at school. School reports will also feature pupils' results in both English and in Dutch. The best bit is when your son or daughter suddenly explains something to you in English!