Me and my Environment/Ik en mijn omgeving: Bilingual Day Care at Zein
Bilingual groups at Zein International Childcare follow the same unique Early Childhood Curriculum as the English groups, designed to develop cognitive development, social and emotional skills and self-confidence. However, the programme is also applied in Dutch, enabling children to be fully immersed in both languages.
The Themed Approach in Practice
Learning and educational experiences at Zein are created through play-way learning and a themed approach with specifically designed activities. For example, February's Day Care theme is The World Around Me - with weekly topics such as Me and My Family and Me and My Environment (in Dutch: Ik en mijn omgeving). Zein's themed approach means children discuss topics, sing songs and learn about numbers, colours and letters over the course of either a week or a month.
The design of the themed approach allows for regular exposure to the vocabulary for each weekly topic, all of which fall under the broader scope of the monthly theme. Children, therefore, have plenty of opportunities to learn, repeat and process both languages at their own pace.
Me and My Environment/Ik en mijn omgeving
Each day, children enjoy two circle time sessions and two fun activities. One circle time and one activity is conducted in Dutch and the other is in English. We may read the weekly book in focus together in English in the morning Circle Time and in Dutch in the afternoon or we may discuss Dieren die we vinden om ons heen (Animals we find around us) in the morning and Do you have a pet? in the afternoon!
A fun morning activity is planned for the group: B is voor Binoculars (B is for Binoculars!). Children will conduct the activity in Dutch and learn about the letter B (the letter of the week) whilst they make binoculars from recycled toilet rolls - to look at the world around them! In the afternoon, children will explore the garden for circular shapes in nature - the Circle is the shape of the week - and children may even use their binoculars whilst they search!
During free play, children are free to communicate in Dutch or English and if they choose to read, they are free to choose from a range of English and Dutch books. During outdoor play, the main language spoken by the teachers will be English to ensure integration and meaningful interaction between the children from different groups. However, children are free to communicate in any language of choice.