Anyone in the Netherlands? Rotterdam/Hague/Delft area advice needed!

(24 Posts)
schoolclosed Wed 11-Mar-15 22:11:15

DH is being relocated, and this is the first time we've done the expat thing with kids - they're six and three. I'm bamboozled by too much choice. I'm pretty sure we want an international school. DH's work is in Rotterdam (not Centraal, more south west). What on earth should we be thinking about?

There's the British School in den Haag, the American school in Rotterdam, or one of the Dutch international schools - there's one in Rotterdam and one in Delft. I hope to work, but don't have a job to go to - so childcare/afterschool care may well become an issue at some point, but maybe not right away.

Any help/advice/things to rule out really appreciated!

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schoolclosed Thu 12-Mar-15 10:56:48


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SuisseRomandeMaman Thu 12-Mar-15 12:24:24

Sorry can't help, but just wanted to say that this board can be a bit slow so just hang tight and someone will come along soon.

And i grew up in NL (Holten) as a young DC and loved it. We didn't go to an international school (there were not that many when i was a kid and Holten is a bit out of the way) but we had a great time. Did soooooooooo much cycling. I loved our time in NL. Goodluck with your move.

Katiepoes Thu 12-Mar-15 14:29:25

Are you on Facebook? There's a group called Dutch Education Group, it's a subgroup of Amsterdam Mamas and pretty much all expats, someone there will know more. I'm further north and my daughter is in regular Dutch school so not a lot of help.

BaronessBomburst Thu 12-Mar-15 14:33:15

I'm in deepest darkest Limburg and with a DS in a Dutch language school but I may be able to rustle up some help.......
<nips off to Facebook>

schoolclosed Fri 13-Mar-15 09:38:02

Ahhh... Amazing! Thanks katiepoes. I'll find it. And hi Suisse and Baroness!

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Longtime Fri 13-Mar-15 15:59:05

I'm in Belgium and we have a Benelux facebook page (waves to Baroness) you're welcome to join (pm me if you're interested). Lots of information on there though I must admit it's mainly Brussels.


Iflyaway Mon 16-Mar-15 01:13:46

If your kids are 6 and 3 (school in Holland starts after your 4th birthday) I would send them to the local primary school.

They will pick up Dutch really fast and will make local friends to play with never mind the saving on the fees of an International School

Also important, you will meet local mums.

schoolclosed Mon 16-Mar-15 11:55:29

Thanks, Longtime - I've just joined a bunch of FB groups, so I might wait until some of that sinks in!

Iflyaway - I see what you're saying, and if we were either (a) moving into an English-speaking country or (b) staying more than three years, I would. But the company will pay for private English-language education, and I don't like to think of the kids struggling to be understood. It's not something I would do to myself (i.e. commit to spend all day in a second-language environment with no prior language acquisition) and so I'm reluctant to do it to them. Also, I'd be concerned about the 3 year old coming home into Y3 with little English language reading/writing. I felt completely different about the expat bubble when we did this without the kids, but I feel so risk/change averse now we're bringing them along with us.

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Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 16-Mar-15 12:24:04 is a good source of info.

How long will you stay and what system do you need them to slot back into?
Will that system be available when you move on to the next posting?
There was a very informative post a few weeks ago about why these early choices matter later on if you have teens in local schools.

Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 16-Mar-15 12:36:31

Ok cross post!
I'd go for the British school Den Haag or American in Rotterdam. Early years US curriculum is subject based and not too dissimilar to the UK key stages in the way it is delivered apart from social studies obviously.
As it is an IB school they will probably have an interdisciplinary approach anyway, it's the trend in most international schools now.
I am not too keen on the full IB primary years program ( and even less so for the MYP) for kids that move around a bit, at the end of primary, there can be gaping wholes in basic literacy, numeracy & science simply because schools/teachers have lots of latitude on content as long as they follow the 5 principles to deliver it.

schoolclosed Tue 17-Mar-15 11:20:59

Laptop we don't know what will happen after 2.5 years. Could be back to the UK, or off to the US, I guess - DH works for an American company. It's a really good point you make - I'm not sure how much to worry about the gaps. If we went for the British school I guess there would be fewer... But it would put a dent in our family time because it would inflate DH's commute. I'm leaning towards the American school right now, and deciding not to worry toooo much about education gaps because the kids are pretty small and have chance to catch up. Would you recommend any reading on the IB primary years program? I suppose I won't really know what gaps they have (if any) until we get back to the UK, though...

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cauchy Tue 17-Mar-15 12:42:38

Most children entering the UK system from IB primary years at international schools are considerably behind in literacy and numeracy. There is generally far less focus on writing, in particular, and on arithmetic fluency. E.g. most international schools wouldn't start multiplication tables at all until year 4 while in the UK children are expected to know most tables by the end of year 4.

On the other hand a 9 year old can typically catch up and adapt to different educational systems fairly easily so it's probably not worth worrying too much about it.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 18-Mar-15 01:24:48

Agree with couchy.

We moved when DS was in Y4/grade 3 and he went from a british to an very reputable, very academic IB school. He was still leaps ahead. Very weak on laying foundations. And we hated the whole IB hocus pocus and moved him to the American school as the british school here totally lacks diversity and shockingly does not teach the local language (that was very important to us.)
We find the school to be a really welcoming fun environment. Still very disciplined with set routines but they also make room for methods like kinetic learning for boys etc.....
The other thing we love about the US system is the very strong mentoring by teachers/sports coaches/parents and the support of the community at large although we are not american and have no ties at all.
It is quite academic where we are (Asia) and you'd have no trouble at all slotting back into a British school at the end of primary.
Is that a hard sell or what grin

My point really is avoid an IB school in primary if you can. It is absolutely not necessary to do it to have better chanes of going IB in grade 10 if that was ever necessary.
Most "serious" IB schools do not rely on the MYP anyway and have their students takes GSCEs & IGCSEs instead.
A strong student in any system can go accross without a problem.There is a strong chance most american schools overseas will go down the route of IB for seniors in the coming years.They already strongly encourage middle schoolers and seniors to take as many advanced placement courses as possible to bulk up their college applications against IB students.

Your children are still very little but its better to have the full picture if you embark on the expat train.
The only problem I see with an American school is if you were to return to the UK system after year7-8.

hope that did not confuse you more

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 18-Mar-15 01:36:03

official IB website

now google "against IB" and you open pandora's box.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 18-Mar-15 01:54:35

here are all the recent mumsnet threads

lots of ground covered comparing different systems overseas

schoolclosed Wed 18-Mar-15 11:39:19

Thanks, both! No, not too confused. OK, maybe a bit. The International Primary Curriculum is not the same as the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, is it?

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cauchy Wed 18-Mar-15 12:04:58

The IB Primary Years Program is not a curriculum - in a way this is half the problem, because (as written above) teachers have a lot of latitude to deliver the program, and thus the delivery varies a great deal between schools.

IB schools do use IPC to deliver the IB PYP (although they don't have to, I think) but it is also not really a curriculum in the same sense as the UK national curriculum - it is theme based, and does not specify in detail exactly what is taught when. However, the available materials and resources tend to influence what is taught to what each age group. So for example IPC does not exclude teaching multiplication and division to kids who are ready for it at 5-7, but if you look at most of the units aimed at that age group you won't find resources which support multiplication and division as most kids aren't meant to be doing it.

UK schools do sometimes use IPC to deliver the national curriculum but when they do they supplement IPC resources with UK NC resources to put in the higher amounts of numeracy and literacy which are required.

Like the other poster I would avoid IB PYP if you can, particularly if your child is quite bright. My DC were grade skipped but were still absolutely bored to tears with the pace of IPC and the international schools they went to just weren't willing to differentiate for the upper end of the class (or indeed the lower end either).

From your choices I would go for the British or American schools. The Dutch international schools are subsidised and are much cheaper (but your employer is paying anyhow), and they don't tend to be in the same league as the "private" international schools.

schoolclosed Thu 19-Mar-15 11:29:03

Thanks cauchy - I think I get it now.

I've been reading up on the American school and am now worrying about gaps. Sigh... It hurts my brain, but it looks like Kindergarten is the same age-group as British Year 1, which I think will end up putting the kids a year behind their British peers in terms of work. And I think the American school in Rotterdam IS an IB school. Oh bother. I don't want the kids to have missed chunks of important maths/literacy when we come back.

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cauchy Thu 19-Mar-15 15:06:51

I wouldn't worry that much about gaps. Children that age do catch up quite easily, because primary maths and literacy spirals i.e. the same topics are repeated at greater depth each year.

Not all IB schools are the same. You probably need the schools to visit to get a feel for what they actually teach. The American school does have a good reputation.

People do commute between Rotterdam and Den Haag (and indeed further) but doing so just for a particular primary school is probably not worth it.

chloeb2002 Fri 20-Mar-15 19:26:58

I think it maybe possible to over think this? Maybe in just too relaxed. It's primary. Surely it's about social integration, basic literacy, numeracy and a bit of science when older? It not a third world syllabus.

They will learn that I'm sure. Gaps or a different way, presentation or type of learning may be a good thing?

I went to many different schools in primary. US schools, German, Belgium. It added to my understanding of the world. When I had to go to boarding school at my parents choice for high school in the U.K. It was not fun! But I wasn't on a different planet educationally. wink

schoolclosed Fri 20-Mar-15 20:35:02

"I think maybe it is possible to over-think this" should be my motto! You guys have been very kind - thank you!

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cannotseeanend Fri 20-Mar-15 20:43:16

Son has just gone from a French speaking system ages 16 into UK state boarding. The adjustment went super smooth. At the first parents' morning, none of his teachers were aware 1) he has been schooled in French and 2) he's been schooled in a completely different school system.

I really would not worry about tiny children. Just believe in your children. If they are able, they are able whatever language or system. The more confident you are, the more confident you will be. So think hard about local schooling and the benefits it will bring and don't worry about any gaps, instead think about the gaps the other kids might have wherever they go next!!!

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 21-Mar-15 00:42:41

Very good advice!
Go see the schools and pick the one that feels right for your family and where they will be HAPPY!

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