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