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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

Does anyone have any experience of the Dutch Primary School integration system, the "nieuwkomers groep" where your child, if not a speaker of Dutch, and aged between 6 and 12 years, attends a special school for 4 school terms, learning Dutch and Dutch culture?

Our children are turning 6 and 9 in the summer, and it is then that we will be considering a move back to Amsterdam. Our only concern is the schooling, and having to put them into what seems initially to be a slightly segregated system. I understand they would spend 1 day a week in what would eventually be their regular primary school, but I'm not sure about the year at this special "nieuwkomers groep" school.

We lived in Amsterdam last year and did go and check out a "nieuwkomers groep" school in the Oud West. At the time neither my husband and I were drawn to the atmosphere of the place, and even the teachers themselves were not particularly encouraging about my then 7 year old attending the school. I think this may have been because we did not know how long we would be in the Netherlands at the time.

Does anyone have any experience of this system? Also, if so, would my children, in particular my 8 (to be 9!) year old, fall behind in other subjects such as Maths?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you :)
 

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Hi Emmis,

To begin with your last concern. I would consider a year of getting up-to-speed with the other children, learn the language, make some friends and getting used to their new environments. Don't see it as a lost year but rather an investment in their future study results and social skills. So what if they fall behind the first year, as long as they are happy and motivated to catch up later on i would not worry to much.

And if you didn't like the first "nieuwkomers groep" school, try to find a better one. It sound obvious and it actually is :) . I assume they can provide you with all information at the "Gemeentehuis Amsterdam".
 

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I agree with Damar, the kids aren't that forthcoming to foreigners. But having a Dutch friend for your kid is a good idea bothways
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Emmis,

To begin with your last concern. I would consider a year of getting up-to-speed with the other children, learn the language, make some friends and getting used to their new environments. Don't see it as a lost year but rather an investment in their future study results and social skills. So what if they fall behind the first year, as long as they are happy and motivated to catch up later on i would not worry to much.

And if you didn't like the first "nieuwkomers groep" school, try to find a better one. It sound obvious and it actually is :) . I assume they can provide you with all information at the "Gemeentehuis Amsterdam".
Thanks for the reply Damar.

Of course it's obvious... but thanks for pointing it out! We have checked out both the integration groups that we know of in Amsterdam, as well as one in Haarlem, and they are all really intimidating! But you're right - it makes sense in the long term.

I'm going to do some more research and find out if the two groups that primary schools constantly tell me to go to, are really the only two in Amsterdam!

Thanks again
 

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Our experience

We moved to Holland in 1990. Our kids were 8, 4 and 4 (twins). We lived in Caspelle aan den IJssel. We sent the kids to school with hardly a word of Dutch between them. We spoke English at home even though my wife is Dutch. Within no time, the kids were speaking Dutch. They are now adults and have their own kids. We speak English to the grandkids. I've also bought them a junior cricket bat (got to civilise the savages, you know).

I lived in Australia during the "10 pound Pom" immigration scheme (I was one). We had Italian and Greek and German kids roll up to school with, at best, rudimentary English. Within no time, they were speaking English and often functioning as translaters for their parents.

May I ask, how well do you speak Dutch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies.

As we'll only be in the NL for a year or two we have decided to at least give the kids the continuation of English speaking education, so they have some semblance of regularity in this crazy nomadic life of theirs!

We've actually had a look at, and are considering, Utrecht, as there is a new international school opening there in August.

I'm about to post again on the forum to see if there are any people in Utrecht who could give me some feedback on life there, as I only know it as a visitor from Amsterdam and Den Haag!

Oh, and, unfortunately, my Dutch is appalling!

Emma x
 

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Follow Up

I'm interested which school you chose and how it worked out for you. We are likely moving to the Amsterdam area in August and our kids are American with some Spanish, but absolutely no Dutch language skills. They are 3, 6, and 8 years old. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated, including any reception schools you found in Haarlem or elsewhere that you liked/didn't like. Thanks!
 
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