Our living room was decorated with a long string of pictures showing all sorts of letters this year. Typical Dutch sounds like ei, ij, oo, ui, oe and ch. That’s because our children go to Dutch classes at the Dutch school in Quito every Monday afternoon.
Our eldest started reading this year and he would bring home a new sound each week. With the end of the school year in sight, he received the last, and the trickiest, diphthong ‘eu’ this week.
The Dutch school in Quito (officially named ‘Foundation for Dutch Language and Culture’) was founded in 1994, with the aim of providing high-quality, tailor-made language education to pupils at pre-school, primary school and secondary school level.
The school is open to anyone who wants to learn Dutch, but the reality is that almost all pupils are from families that have at least one parent who speaks Dutch at home.
In addition to language learning, the school also organises Dutch and Belgian cultural activities, such as St. Nicholas and King’s Day celebrations. And once a year, there’s a culture weekend with a typical Dutch or Belgian theme.
The school has had a steady number of 35 to 40 pupils for many years. The children are divided into different groups, based on age and level. Just like at any school in the Netherlands, the older children give presentations and write book reports.
Classes are taught by two experienced teachers from the Netherlands. And the school is supported by NOB (Foundation for Dutch Education Worldwide). NOB monitors the quality of the courses and assists with Dutch state exams. That’s particularly useful for families who might return to the Netherlands at some stage, as it makes it easier for the children to get back into the Dutch educational system.
Until a few years ago, this school, as well as more than 200 other Dutch schools around the world, could count on a small subsidy from the Dutch government. But unfortunately, the financial crisis put a halt to that.
The other day, we got some good news: now that the Dutch economy has recovered, the subsidy is back.
A great start of the summer holidays!
Victor van Dijk,
Area manager South America, Fleurametz