Keeping up Dutch with summer school

Summer school popular for non-Dutch kids
Photo credit: Studio040

About six hundred children signed up for Zomerschool (summer school) this year. About the same number as last year. “That’s how we prevent them from getting a language dip”.

Chris Voets, co-founder of the Ontdekfabriek (discovery factory), which runs the summer school together with Lumens and Dynamo, says he is happy with the number of registrations. Six hundred is a large number, only in the corona period there were more participants for the school.

“During corona time there were more”, Voets agrees. “Then we got about 850 applications. That had to do with two things: parents not going on vacation, and accumulated school backlogs. The schools sign up their students with us, if they feel they need to. In that respect, perhaps it is also a good sign that the number of applications is no longer so high”.


Still, for the six hundred children who do go, the Zomerschool is very important. “We mainly get children of foreign origin”, Voets explains. “They don’t speak Dutch at home. If they then don’t go to school for six weeks, they fall further behind with the Dutch language. With the Zomerschool, a certain level is maintained”.


Moreover, the children are always going to our school in a good mood. “We are not a regular school of course. We don’t start at 8:30 but at 9:30. That already makes a difference”, Voets says. “But it’s also less strict, more relaxed. Besides, kids always enjoy being with other kids. As a result, the atmosphere is actually always good”.

Yet serious teaching does take place. “We call it informal learning. For example, a lot of attention is paid to comprehensive reading. We use a method that is very much focused on creativity and inquiry. We outline a certain context by telling a story. Students then have to do assignments within that context. Therefore, they have complete freedom to discover all kinds of things”.

Spoken word

The Zomerschool lasts two weeks, during which the children have three teaching days per week. Finally, there is a final presentation on the weekend of the last week. “We have three learning programs. The youngest make a song for the parents, the middle ones create an invention and the oldest children do a spoken word performance. For that, your Dutch has to be really good”.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob

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