After School Care
Since we opened our first bilingual After School Care groups at The Estate in April 2021, we have heard so many great things about children’s experiences from staff and parents. So we decided to have a catch up with the teachers in the groups to find out more!
Our teachers are all dedicated and caring childcare professionals. While interacting with the children, one teacher consistently speaks English whilst the other consistently speaks Dutch – similar to what you would experience in a bilingual household. Each teacher speaks the language they are fluent in, whilst also being proficient in the language owned by their colleague. The kids at after school care build strong relationships with our teachers - when asked what the best thing about Zein is, Kieron (5 years) answered: "Playing with friends and talking with the teachers because they are the best in the world!"
Are children enjoying being in the bilingual group?
Yes! The kids love being in the Bilingual After School Care groups. Those who joined recently have settled in well and all of the children really enjoy the activities from our programme and they love the variety of speaking both Dutch and English each afternoon.
Have children from local Dutch schools settled into the groups well?
The kids from the Dutch schools are settling in really well. Once we are in the room, neither staff nor the children notice a difference between the schools - we are all one.
What do the children enjoy most about being in bilingual groups?
The variety of the activities in different languages and different dynamics during each afternoon they are with us.
How do the children express themselves in English / Dutch?
Most of the time children will instinctively express themselves in the language they are most comfortable in, but when we learn new words during an activity, we hear children repeating those words throughout the whole day.
How do parents feel about their child's experience in the bilingual groups so far?
We can see that the parents are really happy when their children come out of an after school care session saying words that they learned that day. It’s especially fun to watch these exchanges when the words sound strange to the kids and they go up to their parents eager to show them what they have learned!
The demand for bilingual care at Zein has grown in recent years, as long-stay expat families residing in The Hague and internationally-minded local families increasingly recognise the benefits of a bilingual upbringing. Learn more about our bilingual care provision for after school care and day care!
Zein International Childcare is now welcoming applications to their International Talent Programme throughout the year.
For several years, Zein’s International Talent Programme has supported international and Dutch candidates, ranging from recent graduates to those looking for a career change, or even international childcare professionals, with a passion for childcare to gain the necessary qualifications to work in international childcare in the Netherlands. Previously, the programme ran for several months up to twice/three times each year. However, we’re pleased to announce that we will now be accepting running applications from those wishing to gain their EVC/childcare qualifications.
With candidates from the Netherlands and around the world, our ITPers join a friendly and diverse community of teachers. With more than 100 staff representing over 30 nationalities, our staff are able to understand the diverse community of families they serve. The programme was originally designed for international applicants and reflects our belief in the importance of having a diverse workforce to support our international community. Today, as our service offer continues to grow and develop, resulting in an expanded bilingual (English-Dutch) provision, we can also welcome Dutch candidates wanting to retrain to the programme!
Many applicants to the International Talent Programme will have followed a higher education course related to childhood education, although candidates with other academic backgrounds or practical experience will also be considered. Upon starting the programme, all trainees undertake a skills audit - the results of which will be used to create a tailor-made training programme for each trainee.
Throughout the International Talent Programme, trainees follow the in-house training scheme alongside the Dutch ‘EVC’ process. Staff find the process both fun and rewarding as they gain quality experience and learn new skills. All ITP staff are assigned a personal coach who will support them throughout the education process, provide help and advice on the modules they need to complete and competence-based evidence they need to gather. Ramona, who graduated from the ITP in Spring 2020 highlighted the support she received: “I gained a lot of confidence throughout training and from all the help that Zein teachers offered to me during my training period. This has made me more eager to reach the level they practice their profession.”. You can find out more about our ITP graduates on our ITP Graduates testimonials page.
At the end of the year, we look back at what we're thankful for, as well as to the new year. Although we are still living in uncertain times, we have enjoyed so many precious moments with the children in our care throughout the year, and there are many achievements for us to celebrate and fond memories for us to look back on.
In early 2021, we opened our first bilingual (Dutch-English) After School Care groups at The Estate, Benoordenhout, and extended our popular bilingual Day Care provision. We were also able to celebrate opening The Palms, our first location in Amsterdam, and have completed two successful rounds of the International Talent Programme. Other highlights include a week of winter wonderland at the beginning of the year, seeing our Pre-Schoolers and Day Care children graduate before going on to big school, and seeing smiles every day at our Summer Camps! Of course, none of this would have been possible without the families who entrust their children in our care, and our wonderful teachers who are committed to supporting Zein children in their development. When parents leave, they often share their heartfelt thanks for the care and support given to their families during their time at Zein.
"The teachers at Little Castle are amazing!!!! Our daughter misses them a lot, she keeps talking about them and about what she has learnt at Little Castle. As a parent, I felt understood and supported by Zein. My daughter's transition to big school was so easy because she had been well prepared by the teachers at Zein." Little Castle Day Care parent, 2021
"Zein is absolutely the best!" The Estate Day Care parent, 2021
"It helped her to develop and grow and become the person she is - caring, sharing and kind. I loved how you encouraged her love of cooking and baking. I love the choices system. You all made a tremendous difference." The Estate Out of School Care parent, 2021
"A big thanks to the teachers!" The Maples Out of School Parent, 2021
"My daughter had a great time at The Oaks and for sure will remember it with affection and love." The Oaks After School Care parent, 2021
"Our son felt at home and happy from day one. Right from the start he was thriving and learning so much, singing all of the songs he had learned at pre-school, and talking about the experiences with his teachers and the other children. The teachers were absolutely lovely and warm, our son felt safe and loved." Pre-School parent, 2021
"I just wanted to acknowledge and thank the staff who were instrumental in making my daughter's experience a safe, fun and inclusive experience despite her allergies and associated complications around such. They were all fantastic! " Holiday Camps parent, Summer 2021
As we look forward to the new year, we offer our heartfelt thanks to our Zein staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the year, navigating many hurdles with resilience and an exceptional work ethic. Our staff are our greatest asset in ensuring every child feels safe and at home during their time at Zein.
We hope the entire Zein community has a restful and joyful festive period, and we look forward to seeing more of you in the New Year.
Winter bids need lots of energy to stay warm, and on winter days food can be difficult to find. Putting a bird feeder in the garden is not only beneficial for our fluttering friends but making one at home is also a fun activity for an autumnal afternoon.
You will need:
- pine cone
- coconut oil/suet
- birdseed mix
- jute/garden string
- Leave the coconut oil or suet to warm to room temperature.
- Wrap a length of string around the end of the pine cone so it can hang from a tree branch.
- Add in the bird seed
- Mix together with hands, ensuring the seeds are well distributed through the fat.
- Add more seeds if necessary.
- Smother the pine cone or acorn in the seed mix, ensuring the mixture is worked into the gaps well.
- Leave to set and then hang in the garden for the birds to enjoy.
When hanging in the garden, encourage your child to engage by asking questions such as: Which birds come to eat from the feeder? What colours are they? Can your child draw them?
A healthy alternative to hot chocolate, your kids will love coming inside to enjoy this warming drink after playing outside on a cold winter’s day!
8oz milk of choice - whole milk or oat milk are best for frothing!
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare your milk by either:
- heating it gently in a stainless steel steamer cup or steamer appliance;
- using a blender or a handheld frother to create bubbles as you warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat till just beginning to bubble, or;
- using a latte machine/steamer, swirl the stainless steel cup at an angle for about 1-2 minutes until the milk is heated through. Continuously moving the cup in a steady, circular motion at this angle will help to get the milk nice and frothy.
- Pour into a mug and top with cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Stir with a spoon and enjoy!
In line with the season, we will be running Winter Themed Multi-Activity Day Camps during the upcoming winter holidays of all key international and Dutch schools in The Hague. There will be a full and varied programme of exciting activity workshops for your child to choose from throughout the week, so they’ll be able to try something new and different every day! But what does a day at camp look like? Read on to find out!
At camp, we enjoy a range of organised sports and/or activities each day. Children are grouped according to their age, enabling the complexity, subject and length of each activity to be designed for the different age groups. Explorers are typically 4-6 or 7 years Great Adventurers from 7 or 8 to 12 years, and whilst the Explorers are gently guided in their choices and options, the Adventurers have more control over the shape of their day.
Upon arrival, your child will enjoy free play and a wholesome breakfast option to ensure they have energy for the day ahead! Breakfast options range from tasty cereals with milk, yoghurt and fruits to healthy pancakes. Once all children have arrived, we settle down and hold a morning meeting to discuss the plans and activities for the day, allowing children to express their preferences or share their ideas.
Following the meeting, we dive straight into the first activity! Looking forward to the year ahead, the Explorers will make and decorate a colourful calendar which they can take home to use throughout 2022. Meanwhile, the Adventurers will decorate their own mug! The sky is the limit as campers can use their imagination to draw any pattern or design in their favourite colours!
Next up – lunch time! On the menu today is delicious spaghetti and homemade meatballs cooked in a tomato sauce served with corn and parmigiano cheese. After lunch, a free play session allows children to relax and engage in their choice of quiet activity, on their own or with friends. Usually children choose to play with Lego or Kapla, try their hand at jigsaw puzzles, drawing, reading or simply chilling out on the comfy pillows. The Explorers have a longer period of free play before joining the next session.
For the day's second activity the Explorers will make cute and cuddly Polar Bear crafts, ranging from a cardboard finger puppet to a fuzzy polar bear face. Our Adventurers will make beautiful marble greetings cards, enabling them to explore colour theory and learn a fun technique. The activities are followed by a light afternoon snack of fresh fruit and vegetable crudités with a drink to keep our busy campers going until the end of the day.
At the end of the day, we come together and enjoy outdoor sports and recreational activities. Some of our favourite games are hide and seek, playing with hula hoops, scooters and bikes or even creating our own games. This is a time for campers to come together to be creative and blow off some steam – and our camp leaders like to take part too! As some of the early pick ups start, all children have a choice of continuing with a planned activity or playing with some of the toys and games put out for their use. Outside play is always one of the choices on offer.
Every day, there are also regular toilet breaks, hand washing and so on, which are not specified in detail below. We also always make sure that fresh water is available throughout the day for all the children. We will also go on exciting field trips once a week - destinations are currently TBD.
Enjoy baking these healthy cookies as a family activity - to be enjoyed on an autumnal afternoon!
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 medium bananas
1 large egg
1/2 vanilla pod
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cup oats, dry
Preheat oven to 180C.
Lightly grease baking sheets and set aside.
Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and set aside.
If coconut oil is solid, heat gently until just melted.
Mash bananas; add to coconut oil and mix well. Fork-whisk in the egg and vanilla.
Stir in the oats and cinnamon until combined.
Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets. The mixture should make 12-14 cookies.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden.
Serve warm, or wait until they have cooled to serve.
You can keep these biscuits in the fridge or freeze to enjoy at a later date.
Our Autumn 2021 International Talent Programme recruits have started their in-house training and are looking forward to what they will achieve at Zein.
Each time we run the International Talent Programme, we invite passionate, caring and experienced childcare professionals (both Dutch and international!) to obtain the necessary qualifications to work in childcare in the Netherlands. Our candidates follow an in-house training scheme and receive on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced Zein professionals. This combination enables them to gain the experience and training required to work in international childcare at Zein.
Erdem Karal, Zein International Childcare's Recruiter, says: "We were pleased with the competency and skill of applicants to the Autumn 2021 ITP. We are excited to welcome eight new childcare teachers to Zein and wish them the best in their journey in international childcare.".
The ITP trainees come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wide range of experience and specialisations. We spoke to them to find out what they are looking forward to achieving during the ITP:
- Ana, Phillippines: "Facing new challenges & helping to create a happy, safe place for children."
- Vesna, Bosnia and Herzegovina: "I am looking forward to new challenges and helping to create a happy and safe place for children with a team of equally enthusiastic people."
- Maxine, UK: "Supporting colleagues and children at Zein, whilst further developing my own knowledge."
- Maria, USA: "Creating safe spaces for children and parents."
To our ITP trainees - good luck! We look forward to seeing you grow professionally and personally throughout the programme. If you are interested in joining the Zein as an ITP trainee, find out more here.
With the autumn break fast approaching, we are looking forward to welcoming campers to our Multi-Activity Holiday Camps once more!
The exciting programme for this year’s Autumn Multi-Activity Holiday Camps includes all kinds of activities, ranging from baking, sports, sciences and arts & crafts. You can view the full camp programme here.
Many of the activities take inspiration from nature and the season of Autumn. Our campers will gather natural materials you can find in the environment around us this season, such as twigs, acorns and leaves. They will then use them in a mixed media art project; drawing with chalk and creating characters, animals and landscapes around the natural materials.
As always, children will enjoy field trips during the camp programme - no less than twice a week! During field trips of our holiday camps, we provide additional staff to assist with supervision.
Our holiday camps are tailored to key international and local Dutch schools in The Hague and for children aged 4 to 12. You can read the full camp programme online, and to register your child, contact our friendly planning office on +31 (0)70-2002 375 or complete this registration form .