Bilingual childcare: Give your child the gift of language
Over recent years, the demand for bilingual childcare – offering both English and Dutch – has increased considerably. But what does it mean to attend bilingual childcare and what can it offer your child? With over a decade of experience, Zein International Childcare is renowned for its genuine international character and commitment to quality. Through a successful pilot, Zein learnt how to successfully deliver a bilingual approach and will be offering Dutch-English daycare and after school care groups across multiple locations across The Hague and Voorburg from this Spring onwards.
What is bilingual childcare?
In a bilingual childcare environment, teachers engage with the children and conduct activities in two languages. The primary goal is to expose and familiarise children with both languages, enabling them to learn them alongside one another, ultimately supporting them in developing foundational skills and confidence in both languages.
At Zein International Childcare, bilingual groups have at least two teachers, one with ownership of the English language and the other with ownership of Dutch, similar to what you would expect to find in a bilingual household. The daily schedule integrates structured activities and group interaction in both English and Dutch for consistent exposure to each language.
Research shows that children raised multilingually are more open-minded, have better problem-solving skills, adapt better to different environments and pick up new languages easier
The demand for bilingual childcare has grown significantly in recent years. Zein launched bilingual daycare and after school care groups in response to requests from both long-stay expat families and internationally-minded local families who increasingly recognise the benefits of a bilingual upbringing.
Zein Bilingual daycare teacher Christiana explains: “I see that children pick up the languages very quickly. I also hear stories of children helping their parents to translate something from Dutch to their mother tongue in the store! Based on experience, I think a bilingual upbringing helps children to develop their languages skills in general.”
Bilingual childcare offers so much more than the option between international or Dutch education. Research shows that children raised bilingually (or multilingually) are more open-minded, have better problem-solving skills, adapt better to different environments and pick up new languages better than their monolingual counterparts.
Giving your child the gift of language
In addition to cognitive benefits, parents see the long term value of their children being able to speak a second or even a third language as the world becomes increasingly globalised. With a high demand for bilingual employees across the world, the ability to speak two or more languages is a great investment into a child’s future, opening up a world of opportunities. Bilingualism also fosters a connection with a child’s cultural heritage and enables children to better understand and tolerate new cultures they come across in the future.
Bilingualism is the perfect complement to Zein's international community of children, parents and staff - where worlds come together, and its programme focuses on growing up in a world with fading national borders and celebrating different cultures.
A Zein parent shares their reasons for selecting bilingual upbringing for their child: “I would like my child to be a world citizen, not of one country only. Learning English and Dutch from an early age is very useful and helps to build this identity.”
What to expect in Zein’s bilingual groups
As the leading international childcare provider in the Netherlands, Zein provides an award-winning pedagogic programme and creates an environment in which every child feels at home. The childcare provider offers English-speaking and bilingual daycare (0-4 years), after school care (4-12 years), holiday camps (4-12 years) and fully English-speaking pre-school (2.5-4 years).
Bilingual daycare (ages 0-4)
Zein’s bilingual daycare groups follow Zein’s unique Early Childhood Curriculum. As Zein’s curriculum is based around learning through play, children learn English and Dutch within a fun, social environment rather than through formal language classes. To completely immerse the children in both languages throughout each day, songs and nursery rhymes during meals and clean up time are conducted in both English and Dutch, while the main activities of the day and the twice-daily circle times are delivered in either Dutch or English, with at least one session per language each day.
Bilingual after school care (ages 4-12)
In after school care, the bilingual groups also follow Zein’s varied After School Care Programme of activities, projects and sports. To expose the children to both languages each afternoon they are with us, children enjoy snack time, circle time and activity time in either Dutch or English. For example, if circle time and the outdoor activity is conducted in English, the indoor activity and snack time will be conducted in Dutch.
Bilingual childcare for your children
If you would like your children to reap the benefits of bilingual care, or if you would simply like more information about Zein’s bilingual or fully English-speaking options, contact Zein International Childcare by either visiting their website or emailing [email protected].