After School Care
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies Recipe, tried and approved by the chefs and children of Zein!
These delicious oatmeal cookies taste as good as they smell!
Ingredients for 24 cookies:
- 3 cups of oatmeal flour or oatmeal flocks
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of butter, softened
- 4 big bananas
- Preheat your oven at 190°C and line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper.
- Start by mashing the bananas in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, the vanilla extract, and then the oatmeal flour to the bowl. If you only have oatmeal flocks you can blend the flocks a little bit smaller in the blender. The pieces don't need to be too small, keeping them a little bigger gives a nice crunch to your cookies.
- Stir until the cookie dough is perfectly combined.
- Take a piece of dough, shape it into a cookie shape, and place it on the baking tray. Once all the dough is portioned out on the baking sheet, use your fingers to flatten the dough as the cookies won’t flatten as they bake.
- Put the cookies in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Once you remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes. As a fun extra, you can decorate the cookies with yogurt and some fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Does your child have questions about what is happening in Ukraine?
As reports on the shocking and saddening events in Ukraine fill news channels and conversations, feelings of anxiety and fear may arise in children, too. This article aims to offer parents support in answering questions from the youngest members of their family about the images and information they are exposed to.
Talking about the war - a good idea?
Often parents are unsure about raising sensitive topics with their child(ren). Generally, if a child is aware of the war, it is advisable to have a conversation. It is not necessary to discuss the war with very young children (toddlers) as they do not have an emotional understanding of the concept of war yet.
Finding the right time
Just because your child does not talk about the war, does not mean that the topic is not on their mind. Without placing any pressure on the situation, you can ask your child if they know anything about war and where they’ve heard about it. Timing is important: try to avoid bringing up the topic right before bedtime and instead bring it up during a drive in the car or whilst playing or having lunch.
Carefully monitor the needs of your child; if your child doesn’t seem interested in the war or doesn’t want to talk about it at that specific moment that’s okay.
Try to be aware that children pick up on your emotions as well as non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and tone of voice. It helps your child to know that you are calm and in control. Does the news affect you emotionally? Checking the news after your child has gone to bed will ensure they don’t pick up on your emotions – or images and messages from the news.
Children are often more receptive than you may think – to emotions and to information. It is wise to be careful about when you have a (telephone) conversation, turn on the news or open a newspaper.
Consider age and development
If you think your child may have picked up on (something relating to) the war, your child’s age and the stage of their development will play a role in how they will make sense of it.
- Pre-schoolers up to the age of 7 have a rich imagination and can struggle to distinguish what is real from what is fantasy (think of: monsters and cartoon figures). They also often relate events to themselves. They may think that if there is violence in another country, there could be violence in their street. This can cause feelings of anxiety and/or fear.
- From 7 years old, children are generally beyond the stage of ‘magical thinking’ and more aware of the realities of what is happening in their direct surroundings and in the world. It also becomes more challenging to shield them from news reports entirely. Alongside feelings of fear and anxiety, older children (generally from the age of 9) experience empathy and realize that other children are living in war.
Tips and tools to have a conversation
- Preparation is key: Prior to starting a conversation with your child, take a moment to think about what you would like to tell them.
- Short and simple information: Try to avoid an overload of complicated information and opt for regular wording to explain what is happening. For example, you could say: … ‘’In countries far away there can be war. Those countries are arguing about who a piece of land belongs to’’. You could also explain what other countries are doing to help.
- Questions: If your child has questions, you can try to answer them or you could choose to ask counter-questions to encourage your child to speak. It is also okay to indicate that you do not always have the answer. Example: If a child asks what a tank is, you can ask: … ‘’What do you think a tank looks like? Can you perhaps draw one or explain it to me?’’
- Fear: A common reaction and emotion of children is fear. It is important to take the fear seriously and not brush it off. Try to acknowledge the fear and create space for it. For example, by saying: … “I can understand that you are afraid, it is indeed not a nice situation.”
- Perspective: In addition to creating space for emotions, you could explain to your child(ren) that a solution is being worked on, that world leaders are talking, for example, and that war can end. Your reassurance can also help.
- Facts and context: As an adult, you support your child in their interpretation of the world around them and what happens in it. In doing so, it is advisable to make sure that you remain factual and that your own opinion is disregarded as much as possible. You do this by, for example, asking in-depth questions and by providing context, adapted to the age of the child. Example: It is difficult for a child to estimate how far the war is from their home. As an adult, you can clarify this, by saying: … "It takes two nights and days of driving by car, far away!"
- Check-in: After speaking with your child, it can be helpful to check what information stuck with them and, if needed, provide some extra explanation. Remember: keeping the information short and simple remains key.
- Power of Movement: Children also process through movement. After emotions have been expressed, you could support your child(ren) in processing the conversation and getting rid of these emotions by taking them outside for a movement activity.
- Support Activity: For older children, who experience empathy, it may help to do an activity related to the war. Making a drawing or writing a letter to a child experiencing the war can help. This can contribute to helping the child come to grips with the situation as well as provide a feeling of decisiveness and action – and reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. Click here to download a template for a drawing.
- Learn from news shows for kids: Watching the Dutch Jeugdjournaal or British Newsround can help you understand how the war (and other topics) is explained to children (Note: these shows are appropriate for children aged 9-12). Did you like the way the information was presented? Then you may want to discuss the topic with your child in a similar manner.
If you notice that the war is on your child’s mind, please don't hesitate to reach out to their childcare teacher at Zein for further guidance and support. Together, we will support your child in making sense of and processing the current events.
KidsHealth: How to talk to your child about the news
Ouders van nu: Zo praat je over oorlog met je kind
EenVandaag: Hoe praat je met kinderen over de oorlog in Oekraïne
RTL Nieuws: Hoe praat je met je kind over de oorlog in Oekraïne
We are excited to share The Hague International Centre's 'Relocating to The Hague' video which shows why The Hague is such a great place to live and work for internationals.
From career opportunities to charming neighbourhoods, and from international education to leisure activities. The video exhibits what the city has the offer and how The Hague International Centre can help with your relocation.
You might spot a familiar Zein location in the video, too!
The Estate, our flagship location, is situated in Benoordenhout and is a stunning listed building with over 3000m2 of landscaped gardens - designed specifically for the different age ranges of the children in our care. The Estate offers Day Care, After School Care and Pre-School services available to local and international families and has both English language groups and a bilingual option for families who want their children to be exposed to both English and Dutch.
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?