Dutch lessons for children: which lessons to choose?

In the Netherlands, there are several ways to learn Dutch or further develop learning the Dutch language.

Different language schools offer different ways, and the forms of teaching also differ. Some providers work with ready-made teaching packages, others use one specific method and still, others let the child’s learning style be more leading.

There are larger and smaller providers, lessons are taught individually or in a group, and you can also choose from in-person or online lessons. Which Dutch class best suits your child depends on a number of factors.

The advantages of having your child take Dutch lessons are numerous.
Here are a few of them:

  • Your child gets to know the Dutch language and culture in a deeper way than he gets to experience at an international school, for example.
  • He can get along socially well in the Netherlands and, for example, follow his hobby or sport at a Dutch association.
  • You open the opportunity for him to study in the Netherlands.
  • And, of course, the enormous gift of multilingualism or adding an extra language to his multilingualism.

But, when looking for Dutch lessons for your child, it can be difficult to find the right kind of lessons for him.

These factors, among others, help determine which classes are most appropriate for your child.
 Here are the 5 most important ones explained:

  1. the age
  2. whether Dutch is a first, second, or third language
  3. the degree of exposure to Dutch
  4. the purpose of the Dutch lesson
  5. your child’s learning style

1. Age
When you have young children, not every language school is suitable. You are then looking for teachers who are specialized in teaching young children. Short, playful, and interactive lessons work best for toddlers and preschoolers. For older children, online and in-person work. Online language learning is proven effective because of continued interaction, listening, and speaking. For older children ages 7-12, it is important to look at the extent to which the lessons connect to their experience today. And for children above 12 years motivation is key, and so are the subjects in teaching.

2. Dutch as a 1st, 2nd or 3rd language
Is your child learning Dutch as a first, second, or third language? If your child is learning the language as a second or third language, it is important to see how much experience a language school has with NT2 or NT3. For example, do they employ certified NT2 teachers? What kind of groups of students are they currently teaching?

3. Degree of exposure to Dutch.
Consider the following points:

  • do you, or one of you, speak Dutch at home
  • does your child speak Dutch at school
  • does your child speak Dutch socially (outdoor play, sports, hobbies)

The degree of exposure helps determine what kind of lessons your child needs. In addition, the frequency and intensity of the lessons.

4. Purpose of Dutch
And this third point connects directly to the fourth point: purpose. Does your child want to be more socially proficient in Dutch, or should he also be able to get by in the Dutch education system? The goals determine what kind of lessons he needs.

5. Your child’s learning style.
How does your child learn most comfortably and best? Does he like to learn independently, or does he prefer to be taken by hand? Does he learn by reading and writing, or better by listening, or does he learn by pictures?

If he likes to learn by reading, writing, and instruction, a book-based method may work best. If he learns more by independent “discovery,” then a customized lesson would be more appropriate for him. Have a conversation with your child about it. His current teacher at school s also a fine resource: how does he see him or his learning?

With this preparation, the first contact with a language school will make it easier to see if they can offer the right kind of lessons to your child.

If you still find it difficult and would like to discuss the different opportunities without any obligation, you can.

You can contact me Wendy van Dalen at info@dutchforchildren.nl