“Keep in mind that more children will be added.”
Rudin – From April, lessons will be offered for Ukrainian children in Nordenfeld. At the Fletcher Hotel Langewold, students between the ages of 8 and 12 take Dutch lessons, while at the Obs de Tandem, children between the ages of 4 and 8 attend lessons in a classroom setting. And this is going very well, says the coordinator of the Ukraine classes, Netti Veenstra, who is very pleased with the cooperation with the municipality, the community and the schools in Nordenfeld. There are also challenges for teachers. The school’s completely different cultures make the task very difficult.
In fact, I have been retired since August last year. When war broke out in Ukraine and refugees were taken care of in the municipality of Nordenfeld, Nettie Feenstra was called upon. The former director of Het Hoge Holt has the necessary experience in the field of education in the municipality. She knows better than anyone how to run rabbits. Feenstra arranges everything related to the education of Ukrainian children. From furniture to appointments with the hotel, from teachers to consultations with the municipality. “I enjoy doing things for these kids and I also like to tidy things up and get things done.” Feenstra only needs half a word, knows where to get what. And in a complex situation like this, that’s gold. Ukrainian classes are being set up, there are teaching materials and there is a teacher and teaching assistant for groups. Certainly in the beginning there was a great deal of uncertainty about the care and education of these children. Things are now running smoothly, knows Veenstra, who is expecting more Ukrainian refugees to arrive at Nordenfeld.
There are reports of long lines of refugees at the Polish border fleeing to the West. We take into account that we have to accommodate more people and therefore more children have to go to school. Every child who is cared for in this municipality, whether in group housing or private care, ends up here. After registering with the municipality, they receive a personal number with which they can go here. This is followed by a reception interview in the presence of an interpreter. Then the children are divided into groups.
different educational culture
Most of the time is spent on Dutch lessons. We work with the Logo 3000 program, which is an accredited program especially for foreign children. When kids know 3000 words, they can go to a normal primary school, that’s the idea behind it. It takes about 40 weeks to reach this level. Although the education is going well in itself, there are also challenges, says Veenstra, “Many Ukrainian children do not communicate with their Dutch peers. They continue to speak to each other in their mother tongue. Teachers do not always understand what they are saying. In addition To that, they come from a very different educational culture, a school system in the classrooms in which the teacher is very prominent. We’re more of a consult here, and we do it together. You won’t find that out until later. It’s a challenge for teachers to guide children, keeping both cultures in mind. Children are looking for the limits of their means to adapt to the culture of the Dutch school. Another point is the well-being of the children. At first glance, things seem to be going well, says Veenstra. “There are few signs of shock. On the other hand, you know: they have to be there. This makes it difficult. There is a support team from OPON, if something is wrong. But then you hit the language barrier. How do you find out what happens to a child? These are the things that worry us.
23 children from both grades go to school from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Initially that would last until November 1, this has been extended to March 1 of next year. The hotel is leased by the municipality until March 1. No one knows what happens after that, Veenstra says. The coordinator confirms that she is pleased to cooperate with the municipality, the community and the other schools in Nordenfeld. We are helped from all sides. We really appreciate that. The lines with the municipality are short, which is nice. Bookstore Daan Nijman and Bruna donated books to us that they translated into Ukrainian. We’re also seeing a lot of collaboration from surrounding schools. They automatically fetch the games they have left over. Great initiatives that we are pleased with.
After school activities
If Feenstra can name another needed point, it’s fun after school activities. It would be nice if they had something to do. Now they go to their room when school is out. There is nothing for them to do here. This is so bad. Perhaps luxury in Nordenfeld can help with that. In any case, we are happy to recommend interesting initiatives. For St. Martin’s, the teachers returned specially for walks with the children. They loved it.