On Saturday 3 April 2021, De Dubbeldekker, a public primary school in Hilversum, the Netherlands, celebrated its official certification as a Language Friendly School. “This means that we welcome the cultural identity of our students, which includes multilingualism,” explained the principal, Jacqueline van den Bor.

During the covid-proof celebration, the school raised a flag with the Language Friendly School-logo and offered ‘language friendly school’-cakes to the small group of parents, teachers and students who had gathered.

For De Dubbeldekker, multilingualism is not perceived as a problem, but as a strength. “The use of the mother tongue will never be prohibited anymore at our school”. Lidy Peters, the support coordinator (interne begeleider) said: “It is wonderful to see students’ delight when they are asked to provide knowledge about their home language.”

Becoming a Language Friendly School

The Dubbeldekker-school team had already started professional development courses on integrating multilingualism in their teaching strategies, when teacher Pauline Simons heard about the Language Friendly School.

Using the Language Friendly School Roadmap, the team mapped out what they were already doing and then which language friendly-activities they would like to develop further in the future.

As part of the Language Friendly School network, the Dubbeldekker will have access to an online toolkit, a library and most importantly: experienced colleagues to exchange ideas with.

The Language Friendly School is a programme of the Rutu Foundation. The network is growing fast. Starting with two schools in Amsterdam in 2019, there are now 13 Language Friendly Schools in The Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba.

For more information: visit the website www.languagefriendlyschool.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin.

Interested in becoming a Language Friendly School? Sign up here to receive more information.

Children love picture books. And picture books are a great way to introduce children to reading and to build their vocabulary. For children from ‘small language’ communities, however, there are not many children’s stories available. In May 2020, the Rutu Foundaton launched the campaign #GiveATranslation. The challenge was to translate 100 stories in one month. Volunteer translators translated more than 130 children’s stories from the website Storyweaver into 18 different languages. One of those languages was Papiamento. The mother tongue of the majority of children in Aruba, a Caribbean island that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a population of 100,000 people.

One year later, the Language Project (Proyecto Idioma) of the Department of Education Aruba (DEA) has the pleasure of announcing the publication of 21 digital stories in Papiamento, with more on the way for a total of 60 children’s stories. These have been translated from tales on the website StoryWeaver and published to it’s innovative online platform, which provides free and open access to multilingual reading material for kids in order to reach as many kids as possible on a global scale.

With the publication of these translations, the Language Project at DEA hopes to promote reading and language development among Aruban kids in Papiamento, the mother tongue of the majority of children in Aruba. In this way, the Language Project hopes to protect and preserve our beloved Papiamento.

Kids, parents, educators and others interested can access the e-books in Papiamento on the StoryWeaver website here.
You can also access them via the DEA websites:
www.papiamento.aw and www.ea.aw.

Happy reading! / Lesa dushi!


“Children whose languages are not spoken at school are torn between two worlds, that of the language(s) spoken outside the school and that of the language(s) admitted to the school in predefined and exclusive spaces. How many of these students have been told that they have an accent, pretty or ugly? Followed by the question where they – really – come from. The effect of such comments is always the same: children understand that they do not belong to the local school community.”

Read the full blogpost by Emmanuelle Le Pichon and Ellen-Rose Kambel, co-founders of the Language Friendly School, featured by HundrED in honour of International Mother Language Day 2021.

The theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society,” captures the essence of the Language Friendly School. This is what Language Friendly Schools do: fostering their students’ multilingualism, making sure that everyone is included and celebrating diversity. To celebrate International Mother Language Day, we created a video showing what Language Friendly Schools do.

Language diversity is not a problem but rather the solution

For Language Friendly Schools, language diversity is not a problem but rather the solution to create a climate of inclusion and well-being. A Language Friendly School values all languages of the community equally. The objective is that all students feel welcome, enjoy their full identity, and build on that to enhance their overall academic performance. Principals, educators, students, community members, and parents or guardians work together toward these common goals.

How do Language Friendly Schools do it?

The Language Friendly School network is open to all schools, public, private, international, primary, secondary and even tertiary schools are welcome. The Language Friendly Schools are all different, with varying student populations and operating in vastly different education systems. So each school is encouraged to create their own Language Friendly School-activities. For example:

  • students are encouraged to participate in the classroom as active agents and leaders by sharing their languages and cultural practices with their peers.
  • teachers develop classroom activities that are both relevant and relatable to students and their families
  • school teams cultivate an atmosphere of inclusion and diversity by ensuring that parents, caregivers and community partners are all involved in the program.

But why don’t you watch the video and have a look for yourself!

Take a look at our Language Friendly Schools

Get to know our Language Friendly Schools in the Netherlands and Canada! Click on the link to discover tips for success, activities and get a sneak-peek into each schools’ individual Language Friendly approach.

February 21st is the International Mother Language Day. This day was declared by UNESCO “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. The theme of 2021 is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
The whole week leading up to February 21st, we are spotlighting our Language Friendly Schools who welcome, value and include all languages at their schools.

Sint Janschool, Amsterdam

The first Tip for Success comes from the vice-principal of the St. Janschool in Amsterdam, Dieneke Blikslager, who states that when it comes to language inclusion “You don’t need to change anything about your education system. You just need to add a language-friendly sauce.” Click here to find out more about what makes the St. Janschool a Language Friendly School.
invitation webinar

With the Language Friendly School, we envision a world in which all children have access to a language friendly-learning environment: a place where they feel accepted and valued for who they are and no child is punished for speaking his or her mother tongues in school. All schools are welcome to join. The network is open for primary and secondary schools; international, private, public and many more.

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the onboarding process for new schools in the network of Language Friendly Schools has gone virtually 100% online. This means that for new schools around the world, we do not have to wait for a local partner to support your school in becoming language friendly. We will organise a series of free online information webinars to explain the first steps.

Free information webinar

The webinar will be hosted by the Language Friendly School Team. After an overview of what the Language Friendly School is and what the benefits are of becoming part of our network, we will be happy to answer your questions.

The next information webinar will be held on Wednesday 2 December 2020, 15.00-15.45h (CET). To register for this webinar or stay updated on future webinars, please fill out this form. Please note: to allow for optimal interaction, we have room for a limited number of guests.  If the webinar is full, we will notify you of the next opportunity.

[This meeting will be held in Dutch; a report of the meeting will be available in English]

Ongeveer een kwart van de schoolkinderen in Nederland heeft een migratieachtergrond. In grote steden kan dit aandeel zelfs oplopen tot 75%. Veel van deze studenten spreken thuis een of meer extra talen naast het Nederlands. Op school worden thuistalen echter vaak genegeerd, ontmoedigd of soms zelfs ronduit verboden (Hurwitz & Kambel 2020). Hoewel niet slecht bedoeld, blijkt het volledig onderdompelen in de schooltaal en uitsluiting van de thuistaal nadelige gevolgen te hebben voor leerlingen: ze hebben minder zelfvertrouwen, een lager zelfbeeld, ze schamen zich voor wie ze zijn. Maar ze presteren ook slechter (Agirdag 2017).

Gelukkig zijn er aanwijzingen dat de ideologie rond het leren van talen aan het veranderen is. Op nationaal niveau heeft Curriculum.nu, het nieuwe curriculum voor de komende twintig jaar, ruimte gecreëerd voor thuistalen in het curriculum. Steeds meer scholen tonen interesse in de Taalvriendelijke School: een label dat wordt uitgereikt aan scholen die alle talen verwelkomen en waarderen die door hun leerlingen worden gesproken. En sommige gemeenten beginnen het belang in te zien van het stimuleren van de meertaligheid van hun leerlingen met een migratieachtergrond. Dit zijn slechts kleine of voorzichtige initiatieven. De voorstellen van Curriculum.nu moeten bijvoorbeeld nog worden goedgekeurd door het parlement.  Het is daarom noodzakelijk dat veelbelovende ‘taalvriendelijke’ praktijken op grotere schaal onder de aandacht worden gebracht en dat we nadenken hoe taalvriendelijk onderwijs niet een uitzondering maar een integraal onderdeel wordt van het Nederlandse onderwijsbeleid.

Dit is het derde jaar dat het Sirius Policy Network on Migrant Education in samenwerking met de Rutu Foundation een Nationale Rondetafel in Nederland organiseert rond het thema ‘meertaligheid in het onderwijs’. Dit jaar is de focus gericht op taalvriendelijk onderwijs. Samen met onderwijsprofessionals, beleidsmakers en ouders gaan we in gesprek tijdens drie online bijeenkomsten met elk een eigen thema: de klas, de school en het beleid.


Aan het eind van de serie worden concrete beleidsaanbevelingen opgenomen in een actieplan voor taalvriendelijk onderwijs in Nederland. Dit wordt aangeboden aan de onderwijskoepels en het ministerie van Onderwijs.

Voor wie:

Sta je voor een meertalige klas, ben je schoolleider of beleidsmaker of ben je zelf ouder van meertalige kinderen? En heb je goede ideeën om taalvriendelijk onderwijs te integreren in het Nederlands onderwijs? Je bent van harte welkom om mee te denken.


Deel 1 – 19 november 2020- Het klaslokaal. Welke aanpak werkt rond meertaligheid in de klas? Leerkrachten lichten hun praktijk toe en en laten zien hoe deze aanpak hun meertalige leerlingen met een migratieachtergrond helpt, en een positief effect heeft voor de ééntalige leerlingen.


  • Frederike Groothoff, ambulant taalondersteuner, eigenaar LangWhich
  • Femke Danse, onderwijsadviseur meertaligheid bij ABC Onderwijsadviseurs

Download de powerpoint presentatie

Kijk het webinar hier terug

Deel 2 – 26 november 2020 – De school. Wat hebben scholen nodig om een schoolbrede taalvriendelijke aanpak te ontwikkelen? Schoolleiders van Taalvriendelijke Scholen vertellen over hun ervaring en waar zij tegenaan lopen bij de implementatie.


  • Dieneke Blikslager, onderdirecteur St. Janschool Amsterdam
  • Luc Sluijsmans, rector De Nieuwe Internationale School van Esprit (DENISE) Amsterdam
  • Fadie Hanna, opleider Universitaire Pabo Universiteit van Amsterdam

Download de powerpoint presentatie

Kijk het webinar hier terug

Deel 3 – 10 december 2020 – Het beleid. Wat is er nodig om taalvriendelijk onderwijs in te voeren op alle scholen? Wie zijn de verantwoordelijke instellingen en personen? Hoe kunnen we ze bereiken?


  • Najat Benayad, projectleider gemeente Zaanstad
  • Daniela Fasoglio en Joanneke Sprenger, SLO/Curriculum.nu
  • Geert Simons, directeur-bestuurder Proominence, openbaar onderwijs Ede

Download de powerpoint presentatie

Kijk het webinar hier terug

Over de organisatoren:

  • SIRIUS Policy Network on Migrant Education is een internationaal beleidsnetwerk voor onderwijs aan kinderen met een migratieachtergrond. Sirius is sinds 2012 de voornaamste adviseur van de EU over deze onderwerpen en is sinds 2017 een onafhankelijk netwerk (internationale non-profit organisatie) waar alle grote stakeholders binnen het onderwijs aan deelnemen. Lees meer over Sirius.
  • De Rutu Foundation voor Intercultureel Meertalig Onderwijs is een non-profit organisatie die opkomt voor kinderen die een andere taal spreken dan de schooltaal, waaronder kinderen met een migratieachtergrond. De Taalvriendelijke School is een programma van de Rutu Foundation. Het is een label en mondiaal netwerk van scholen die alle talen van hun leerlingen verwelkomen en waarderen.


Alle deelnemers ontvangen het eindrapport. Als je je niet hebt opgegeven maar wel het eindrapport wil ontvangen met de aanbevelingen dan kan dat hier.


Taalvriendelijke School

[Lees dit artikel in het Nederlands]

Congratulations to the newest member of the Language Friendly School Network, the SALTO-school Floralaan in Eindhoven! The school principal, Arabella Ganzeman, said she already noticed how happy and enthusiastic the children were, just by seeing the language friendly decorations that were put up by the team. The SALTO-school Floralaan is the fourth certified Language Friendly School, an initiative of the Rutu Foundation. They will be joined this month by three other SALTO-schools in Eindhoven and by the Optimist International School in Hoofddorp.

Meanwhile, one of our first Language Friendly Schools, the St. Janschool in Amsterdam, was recently featured in Didactief, a popular journal for teachers in the Netherlands.

A Language Friendly Sauce

“Multilingualism is a strength” is the main credo of the St. Janschool, a public primary school with 446 pupils in Amsterdam-West who received their Language Friendly School certificate in 2019. Didactief interviewed the vice-principal Dieneke Blikslager and had a look inside the school. An excerpt of the interview is provided in English. Continue Reading

Taalvriendelijke School
Read this article in English here

We verwelkomen het nieuwste lid van het netwerk van Taalvriendelijke Scholen, SALTO-school Floralaan in Eindhoven! De schooldirecteur, Arabella Ganzeman, vertelde hoe blij en enthousiast de kinderen waren, alleen al bij het zien van de taalvriendelijke versiering die het team had opgehangen. SALTO-school Floralaan is de vierde gecertificeerde Taalvriendelijke School, een initiatief van de Rutu Foundation. Later deze maand wordt dit uitgebreid met drie andere SALTO-scholen in Eindhoven en de Optimist International School in Hoofddorp.

Een van de eerste Taalvriendelijke Scholen, de St. Janschool in Amsterdam, werd uitgelicht in  het tijdschrift voor leerkrachten, Didactief. Adjunct-directeur Dieneke Blikslager vertelt in een interview wat het betekent om Taalvriendelijke School te zijn. Lees hier het complete artikel over de St. Janschool in Didactief.

Geïnteresseerd in het netwerk van Taalvriendelijke Scholen?

Het netwerk van Taalvriendelijke Scholen staat open voor alle scholen, van openbare tot privéscholen en voor basis- of voortgezet onderwijs. Heb je interesse om ook een Taalvriendelijke School te worden? Doe dan mee aan ons volgende informatiewebinar op donderdag 22 oktober om 20.00 uur. Lees meer en geef je hier op.

Since the murder of George Floyd in the United States, there have been worldwide protests against discrimination and racism, including in the Netherlands. While there is a lot of attention for this topic, there is very little discussion about the impact of racism and discrimination on children. This is why, on 22 September 2020, the Kinderrechtencollectief (Children’s Rights Collective), the Rutu Foundation and the city district council of Amsterdam Zuid-Oost organised an expert meeting about racism and children’s rights in the Netherlands.

Sharing Experiences

 The Kinderrechtencollectief and the Rutu Foundation drafted a discussion paper to gather what we know and what we don’t know about racism against children in the Netherlands, focusing on the domains Education, Children’s Services, and Juvenile justice. This was compared with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Children also shared their experiences with us. Based on this discussion paper, experts came together to share missing information and to check if the image portrayed by the discussion paper corresponded with reality. 

Chairperson of the city district council, Tanja Jadnanansing,  is committed to the participation of children on this topic. The Children’s Committee of the city district Amsterdam Zuid-Oost specifies that they want to address racism and discrimination. Tanja highlights that children should not be underestimated. They know more than adults realise and should be involved in the topics that concern them, such as racism and discrimination. Former chairperson of the Children’s Committee, Nikki (10 years old), proved that by leading the afternoon, together with Erben Oosting (19), board member of the Nationale Jeugdraad (National Youth Council). 

Insufficient information

That afternoon, the experts addressed racism and discrimination in the domains of education and children’s services. Both groups said that significant information is lacking about the experiences of children, especially in the Caribbean parts of the Dutch Kingdom. 


In the group focusing on education, it was stated that racism is present at multiple levels, but that it is often subtle in nature and therefore difficult to address. Institutional racism needs to be recognized and explicitly defined. The curriculum and teacher training programs lack knowledge about racism, discrimination, and the concurrent obligations that arise from human rights treaties. This needs to become a mandatory part of the curriculum and also in teacher training (PABO). Additionally, the complaint mechanisms must become more accessible. Victims often do not know that they can file a complaint and experience this as something “that’s just part of the deal” if you belong to a minority. Finally, sharing good practices like the Language Friendly School is the last recommendation.

A need for information

Experts in children’s services and youth care confirm that complaints of children about racism are often put under the umbrella of other domains because the racism experienced by children is often accompanied by other problems. Therefore, it is unclear how often children report racism and discrimination. Maartje Schulte, judicial advisor juvenile law at Defence for Children, argued that an important first step could be to educate teachers and children’s services about racism and discrimination that children can experience in youth care and in foster homes. 

The Kinderrechtencollectief and the Rutu Foundation will complement the paper with new insights and information, before making recommendations to the Dutch government.