When it’s time for your oldest child to start school, you do research. You decide if they’re ready- which school is right for ALL of you, what TYPE of school is right, and on and on and on. When we were in South Carolina and felt it was time for B to join the ranks of a pre-preschool setting, we went with a great school based on the recommendation of a friend. Also their availability. Every other school I tried was full.
He went to this school for a year or so. He LOVED it. Thrived, in fact. It set him up to think school was awesome and the best thing ever to happen to him. His teachers were wonderful and we were thrilled.
Today he is in the Dutch school system and has been for about two months- as long as we have been here. We chose this house based upon the school. We met with schools prior to choosing a home so put much into this. Bonus that it’s only about 3 blocks from here. I felt a little unprepared though as I didn’t research it as heavily as I did with the one back home- and when the boys started back in November I kind of threw them in there and hoped for the best.
The Dutch system offers the peuterspeelzaal for ages 2-4. Essentially that is a playgroup with teachers (and quite like preschool in my opinion) and a small group of kids. My twins go on Tuesdays and Fridays and B goes four days a week- two of those days are with his brothers. We like it very much. B has picked up Dutch so quickly- even his teachers are impressed. I like the fact that the school itself is very accommodating and easy when it comes to communication. The teachers have been lovely and helpful beyond my initial hopes.
B is 4 next month which signifies the end of his ‘playgroup’ days. He is to start the real Dutch school which is 4-5 days a week and lasts a typical school day. The numbers of children are a little larger (probably 25-30 in a class) and the ages are 4 and 5. School is year round, with the typical holiday breaks- and children are constantly moving up based upon their age.
I am ok with them in a traditional Dutch school. That’s why we chose this road instead of the International School option. We decided that the boys were all young enough to adapt, and here in the Netherlands I continue to be impressed with their knowledge and use of the English language. However, the young children aren’t fluent in English yet so the conversations are pretty one-sided when it comes to relating to friends.
At this point in his fledgling school career- B loves it. He loves to learn and have fun. His teachers think he’s great, which tells me that he is doing well. What worries me is that time after time I throw something at him and force him to adjust. At what point is he going to say ‘Ok. I give up. I don’t like this anymore.” And stop loving school?
What do you think about the options for early education? How do you think your kids would do in a foreign language setting? Do you think I am expecting too much from my boys?