About a hundred people are staying at home in Kennemerland: “These children are stuck in education”

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.

Rosalinda de Haan and Sarah Berchot – Michael van der Puten/NH Media

“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 located in a classroom in an old school building of Nova College in Harlem-Nord. This is a convenient place. Here, among other things, we have started a daytime activity for young people who sit at home, with space for 6 children per day (maximum 18 per week) We can also instruct and train 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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Drawing and coloring supplies ready for kids – Michael van der Puten / NH Media

“School is the norm, and if you leave your child at home, you’re in violation. It’s a very big step not to let a child go to school,” says a Balans spokesperson. “Also consider the financial aspect, as some parents have to work less to supervise the 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 does not suit them, which in some cases is detrimental to the well-being of the child, a parent can still make that choice no matter how difficult it is,” she says. says Ballance.

“My son was so bullied that I chose to leave him at home”

Sibel Ozugul Ozen, she left her son at home for several months

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

The choice put her in touch with education officials—after all, her son had received compulsory education—and eventually turned 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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Rosalinda de Haan and Sarah Berchot – Michael van der Puten/NH Media

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 letting them work here with colleagues who suffer for their well-being through sport, creativity, play and nature, we think they relax. Because a less occupied head and that gives Room for growth,” 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 an education and they are stuck in it,” says Rosalinda De Haan, Kennemer Kids trainer. “We’re not a school. Of course we learn school skills, but this is really a step between home and school. We make them 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 again.

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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.

Where do problem children go?

The Appropriate Education Act imposes a duty of care on school boards. This means that schools are required to create a suitable learning space for pupils who need additional support.

Sarah Berkhout is also the Care Coordinator at Hagfield College in Heemstead. If a Girl Guide identifies a problem, she is called upon.

If this problem is related to the family situation, the Youth and Family Center will come to the rescue. If a child is absent, very late, or absent, the school attendance officer will be called. Both agencies are part of the municipality.

If a child-friendly education has to be found, the school will work with Het Collaboration. The status of Hagfield College is the South Kennemerland Partnership. This organization is very busy. This was one of the reasons why Barkhout created Kinemer Kids.

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