Not going to school because of autism or giftedness, or because you are being bullied. In the Harlem area, about a hundred students are forced to stay home. This is a problem for parents, but also for the school. That’s why there’s now Kennemer Kids, a new organization aimed at home-sitters.
“An intermediate step and shelter between home and school,” is what Kennemer Kids founder Sarah Berkhout, 41, calls her new founder, which has been in the works since this week.
“We are in a classroom in an old school building of Nova College in Harlem-Nord. This is a suitable place. Here, among other things, we have started a daytime activity for young people who are at home, with a room for 6 children per day (maximum 18 per week). We can Also mentoring and training babysitters at home, with the aim of getting them back to school.”
Babysitters at home
According to Vereniging Balans (a national organization for parents of children who need additional guidance in learning or upbringing), around 15,000 children are at home across the Netherlands. The organization explains how difficult it is to keep parents at home.
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“School is the norm and if you leave your child at home, you are in violation. Not letting a child go to school is a big step,” says a Balance spokesperson. “Also consider the financial aspect, as some parents have to work less to supervise a child.”
So why do parents choose it? “We see it among other things in children who are autistic or gifted. If they have to go into an environment every day that doesn’t suit them, which in some cases is detrimental to the child’s well-being, the parent can still make that choice. No matter how difficult it is,” he says. Balance.
“My son was so bullied that I chose to leave him at home”
Sibel Ozugul Ozen, the son remaining in the house.
Haarlem Sibel Özoğul-Özen years ago chose to keep her son at home. “He was bullied so much in elementary school in Harlem (the name of the school is known to the editors) that I thought it was the only way out.”
Court of Justice
This choice put her in touch with education officials — after all, her son had received compulsory education — and the matter eventually devolved into a lawsuit. At first, I lost that case. But on appeal, Ozugul Ozen was right, because according to the court, the parents’ duty of care outweighs his obligation to go to school.
Ozuğul Ozen’s case is extreme. Her son has not found any connection throughout his school years, suffers from psychological complaints and is currently on the GGZ Trauma Assistance Program.
According to Ozugul Ozen, there should be an organization that “also accompanies parents.”
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Together with the school and the child, the parents make up the important “triangle” for the Kennemer children. According to Berkhout, the home sitters are often psychologically tired and do not feel heard and have arrears. The step back to school is often huge.
“They think they are alone. By allowing them to work with fellow sufferers on their well-being through sports, creativity, play and nature, we think they relax. Because your head is less occupied and that gives room to grow,” says Berkhout.
This is really the intermediate step between home and school.
Rosalinda De Haan, Kennemer Kids Trainer
However, there really is such a thing as special education, so what does Kennemer Kinds Plus offer? “This special education is also education and they’re stuck with that,” says trainer Rosalinda de Haan of the Kennemer Kids. “We are not schools. Of course we learn school skills, but this is really a step between home and school. We make sure they feel comfortable again.”
Beginning February 1, the old classroom in the old Nova College building will be filled with six children each day. With sports, games and nature, they learn to find joy in education.
According to figures from Haarlem Municipality, there were 73 house-sitters in the 2021-2022 academic year in the Zuid-Kenemerland and Egmond district. Of these, 14 young people have been assisted, and the municipality has identified 59 home sitters.
To address this problem, the municipality works with partners such as the CJG (Centre for Youth and Family), the GGD and of course also with the parents and the young person concerned.
Every two months, the in-house nannies on the list are discussed again by Partnerships, Leerplein and, when necessary, with CJG, GGD or other partners to provide solutions. In some cases, the problem is that the offer is not considered appropriate by the parents. Sometimes help is needed first. The municipality considers that appropriate allocation is required for each case, and the municipality also tries to provide this in the best possible way.
Waar kunnen kinderen met problemen terecht? De Wet passend onderwijs legt schoolbesturen een zorgplicht op. Dat betekent dat scholen verplicht zijn om een passende onderwijsplek te creëren voor leerlingen die extra ondersteuning nodig hebben. Sarah Berkhout is ook zorgcoördinator op het Hageveld college in Heemstede. Constateert een mentor een probleem, dan wordt zij ingeschakeld. Mocht dat probleem te maken hebben met de gezinssituatie, dan komt Centrum Jeugd en Gezin helpen. Spijbelt het kind, komt het te vaak te laat of is het afwezig, dan wordt de leerplichtambtenaar ingeschakeld. Beide instanties zijn onderdeel van de gemeente. Moet er voor het kind passend onderwijs worden gevonden, dan gaat de school samenwerken met Het Samenwerkingsverband. Het geval van Hageveld College is dat Samenwerkingsverband Zuid Kennemerland. Deze organisatie heeft het erg druk. Dat was voor Berkhout een van de redenen om Kennemer Kids op te zetten.