As we embark on a new summer camp adventure, we are excited about the new experiences that await children who attend Zein International Childcare’s themed and multi-activity day camps. One of the most popular camps each year is Performing Arts Camp - where children will discover a diverse programme featuring different kinds of acting and dance-related activities. The activities are age-appropriate and perfect for little entertainers – or for bringing out the inner performers in quieter children!
We spoke to camp leader Lucia about her passion for the performing arts and childcare. As an Out of School Care teacher at Zein and a professional dancer, actor, filmmaker, and director, she is the perfect fit to lead Zein’s Performing Arts Camp!
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Do you still remember when you first became interested in performing arts/dance?
I have loved dancing and performing ever since I was a child. Throughout my life as a dancer, I have dived into many different styles, from belly dance to contemporary, African dances and old-school authentic jazz dance. Currently, I have turned to my Argentine roots and find myself very passionate about tango and my ongoing learning process in swing dances.
What is your background in performing arts/dance?
My love for old movies has taken me down the path of filmmaking. I graduated from film school and have participated in many different roles in independent films, going from sound to art department and even acting minor roles on national TV. Before moving to the Netherlands I used to work as a director for voice actors, recording dubbed TV shows for MTV and Discovery’s Latin American audiences. Alongside my job at Zein, I dance and teach Lindy Hop and Solo Jazz dances, as well as perform in chorus line groups.
What is your favourite part of teaching performing arts/dance?
My favorite part about teaching performing arts and dance is providing a space for the kids to shine, to be seen and heard when sharing their talents, but also to help them overcome their fears and shyness, to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. I love to encourage them to pursue their own creative ideas and ways of expressing themselves and their emotions.
How do you decide which techniques and skills to teach children at camp?
Based on the experience of previous years leading this camp, the programme is adapted each year to improve its content and spark interest in the kids, while covering the general concepts of both performing arts and dance. The activities are strongly focused on the playful aspect, with games that include improvisation, creativity, movement, body awareness, self-expression and building up of characters.
What does it mean to you to teach performing arts and dance during Zein Summer camps?
At Zein, I always aim to be the supportive, loving and caring adult I would have liked to have experienced myself as a child. And I do this by creating a safe environment where the kids can feel confident to express themselves fully, freely and assertively. Working at this camp has been incredibly rewarding because we get to play and have fun, while exploring out-of-the-box possibilities and learning together. I feel fulfilled when I can contribute my grain of sand by helping children bring the best qualities in themselves while developing their skills, so that they can keep pursuing their dreams. I strongly believe that happy kids today will make for brighter days ahead.
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!
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.
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!