With these tips for expat parents and children, a smooth start to the new school year is easy.
For ex-pat families, the start of a new school year brings excitement and challenges. As summer slowly gives way to autumn, children are ready to start a new chapter in their learning adventure. This article aims to provide expat parents with practical tips. Tips on how to best prepare their children for the new school year and also highlight their own role and involvement.
For Dutch-speaking parents, please click this link for the Dutch version.
Explore and welcome the school environment of the new school year
The new school environment can be exciting and overwhelming for expat children. Before the first day of school, plan a visit to the school to explore the classrooms, playground, and other facilities with your child. Get your child used to the new environment and point out places of interest to them, such as the library or art room. This helps to allay any fear of the unknown and strengthens them because they know better what to expect.
Create a routine in advance with a fixed structure
A structured routine is the basis for a successful school year. Start adjusting sleep patterns and daily schedules a few weeks before the school year starts. For expat children, a stable routine is essential to feel safe and grounded. After all, things are already changing satisfactorily. Plan regular bedtimes and meals to create a sense of stability.
Build a social network
Friendships are invaluable, especially for expat children adjusting to a new environment. Spend time with other parents and children in the neighborhood to foster friendships. Organise an informal get-together where children can get to know each other, and parents can share experiences. These connections provide support not only for the children but also for the parents.
Encourage language skills
For expat children, learning the local language can be an integral part of their adjustment to the new environment. Consider taking Dutch language lessons, where they learn the language and gain insight into the culture and traditions. Ensure the lessons are interactive and fun so your child remains motivated to learn. More good tips on learning Dutch can be found via this link.
For those considering learning Dutch for their children but are not yet, I highly recommend one of our latest articles (available in English): Is Dutch really a difficult language for your child to learn? The mystery unraveled.
Find a balance between school and extracurricular activities
Besides school, it is important that children can get involved in extracurricular activities such as sports and hobbies. Consider enrolling your child in local sports teams, art classes, or other activities that interest them. These activities promote their social and language skills and provide a welcome change from the school routine.
Support the expression of emotions
Provide space for art, music, or any other way in which your child can express themselves creatively. It helps develop their imagination. Moreover, it also provides a healthy outlet for emotions and experiences they may encounter during their expat journey.
Self-care for parents in the new school year
Don’t forget to make time for yourself as a parent. Guiding expat children through a new school year can be challenging. So it is important to monitor your own well-being. For instance, look for local expat parent groups where you can share experiences and find support. You can sometimes find these groups through school, social media, or information from the municipality in your city.
The new school year at Dutch for Children
The new school year is coming up. We are pleasantly ‘busy’ preparing for the next school year at Dutch for Children. Taking on new students, offering regular students a different lesson time, and updating and replenishing all materials.
Among other things, we want to further dedicate ourselves to reading comprehension in a way that is valuable for the children. This is because many texts written specifically for educational purposes are impoverished.
A rich text is authentic: it can come from anywhere, provides information about something important or interesting in everyday reality, or is meant to be enjoyable. In a rich text, there are all kinds of things between the lines. Connections can be made with the outside world, your life, and other texts.
In short, we at Dutch for Children want to work even more with these kinds of authentic and rich texts for our students. Texts that not only connect to their current world of experience but also appeal to a greater vocabulary and a deeper understanding of the texts. With fun, a good plan and the right texts, we can guide our students well.
We are also working to offer even more value to all children learning and wanting to learn Dutch. Our latest item on social media (from September) is an example. From 6 September, we will post a free lesson or language activity for your children on social media every Wednesday. Don’t miss it! Let your child read the assignment and participate. You can also post the reaction or solution as a parent.
The start of a new school year offers opportunities
The start of a new school year marks an exciting period full of opportunities for expat children and their parents. Expat children can integrate smoothly into their new environment. By paying attention to a structured routine, social connections, language skills, and extracurricular activities.
As parents, you play a crucial role in supporting and encouraging this adjustment. You and your children can enjoy a successful and enriching school year through open communication and a healthy balance between school and free time.
School start dates
- North region starts 3 September 2023
- Central region starts 20 August 2023
- Region South starts on 27 August 2023
Through this link, you can find which region your child falls under.
Dutch for Children wishes all children and parents lots of fun with the start of this new school year!