Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 10:09
Schools struggling with foreign students
More and more schools are dealing with teaching refugee children who arrived in the Netherlands only recently and do not speak a word of Dutch. Schools are looking for ways to teach these children in the best possible way. All municipalities in the Netherlands are required to accommodate a certain number of refugees. If there are children among them, they have to go to school. At the end of January there were 5,633 foreign children in Dutch primary schools, AD reports. On October 1st last year, there were 6,401 foreign students in high schools. This involves mostly children from asylum centers, but also newcomers from, for example Eastern European countries. Some regions have special schools for foreign students, that they attend for a year to master the Dutch language. When they are ready, they go to a normal school. But not all regions have the capacity to provide such special schools and the children end up in normal classrooms. Lowan, the organization that supports education for these newcomers, constantly gets calls from school directors asking questions on what teaching methods to use in order to teach children who do not speak Dutch. "We notice that more and more schools are struggling with this", Marieke Postma said to the AD. Dr. G.A. Wumkes-skoalle, a primary school in Joure Friesland, sets an hour aside each day in which one of the teachers helps their group of newcomers with Dutch. "We haven't succeeded to have a conversation with them", the teaching assistant told AD. "We are now trying especially to increase their vocabulary. Fortunately, they pick it up surprisingly well." The primary school has no experience in teaching children who do not understand Dutch, but they are trying their best. "We are as green as grass", director Jan de Boer said. The newcomers in Joure seem to be doing well. They play and interact with their classmates, communicating with gestures. "Yes, they look happy. According to us they are doing okay." De Boer said.