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Integrating Children into Dutch Primary Schools (Amsterdam)

5474 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  jraderj

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".
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
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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