FEELING AT HOME, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE IN BETWEEN HOUSES
As a language institute, Flowently offers the opportunity to connect people, to feel at home in the Netherlands through language proficiency, even when they are not yet installed in their new home. At any age, the transition to a new country, new culture and new language can be exciting, but especially for children.
My first Flowently student was a boy of five; he had just arrived in the Netherlands and lived temporarily in the short stay apartment hotel De Wittenberg in Amsterdam. Here they are very helpful and hospitable, making you feel at home easily. However, that home feeling quickly disappeared when entering the Dutch primary school. In spite of his great language skills, making contact was difficult and the previous school and friends became an increasing loss.
LEARN WHAT YOU NEED TO FEEL COMFORTABLE
As Flowenty looks at the language question per student with a personal approach, it was obvious that for this student the keyfactor was that he could feel more comfortable through language. There was also contact with his teacher from school, who had passed on points of interest and themes, to create an umbrella team and theme to prevent a spate of new things. In this case the emphasis in terms of language demand was:
“How do I make contact with my Dutch peers?”
SOCCER IS A LANGUAGE BEST FRIEND
Given the age and energy, the approach was far from schoolastic, but more interactive. Soccer appears to be a good friend to discover and master a language. Or sticking around post-its on all possible utensils in the lobby. Sticking stickers, colorful running, water assignments, blowing up balloons, building towers, making paintings. In addition to the sporty and creative approach, we have been on the street a lot; how does it work with crossing, counting and describing vehicles, posting an old-fashioned letter, buying an ice cream and for the first time a ride on the back of a bicycle. In this way he mastered daily words and sentences.
LANGUAGE BOOSTS YOUR SENSE OF HOME
On sunny days the lesson also moved a few times to the playground in the Oosterpark, where interaction with other Dutch children could be used directly in practice. This made it easy to catch up on where confusion can occur and how he could playfully cope with it. By playing and being literally active with the language, his self-confidence visibly grew.
Also school became a friend with all new possible playmates to play with and to grow further in the Dutch language and his sense of being at home.
Written by Geertje Hampe-Nijland