Saturday, October 29, 2005

Last week Ha'Aretz published a long article about the Dutch school in Modi'in. The school is definitely a success, and this year a similar project is started in Tel Aviv. With the help of the teacher from Tel Aviv we are going to try to set up such a school in the North as well. North of Hadera there are more than enough parents who are interested, the only problem might be the fact that the families live all over the northern third of Israel, and it could be difficult to find a location that will serve and satisfy everyone. I would love to see our two children go to the school. Since they were born ( our daughter is 6 1/2, our son will be three years old next week ) I have spoken only Dutch to them, and they understand it well. Recently the eldest even has started to read, and to try and speak whole sentences, and both of them use many words and short expressions in Dutch ( "Da'kan niet", "zom'teen", "goed zo" ), in some cases they will even use a Dutch word rather than its Hebrew equivalent ( "zon", "maan", "komkommer" ). Yesterday my daughter wanted to surprise me. She told me not to look, and after five minutes she came to me and showed me what she had written, in a beautiful handwriting ( much better than mine; those who have seen my handwriting will say "kunsjt" right now ): "Zoek hetzelfde woord". She had copied the words from an educational game that we often play with, Mini-Loco. She also wrote "A. love E. pappa en mamma"(*): for her everything that is written with Latin letters is Dutch. Still, they only hear Dutch from me, and no matter how many books, DVDs and CD-ROMs I use, there is nothing like having them meet and play with children of their own age who more or less know the language, and who come from a similar cultural background. For me it is important that they will be able to communicate in my native tongue, especially with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and with my two nieces. Also, since they are Dutch citizens, I would like them to at least have the option of studying in the Netherlands when they are ready for that. For instance, the faculty of veterinary medecine at the university of Utrecht, the city where I was born, still is considered one of the best in the world. Today so few Dutchmen and -women speak and write Dutch without making mistakes, and for so many people in the Netherlands Dutch is not the native tongue, that it probably will be realitvely easy for our children to fit in. We are thinking about coming to Holland for one or two years within two or three years. That way the children will receive the best possible basis for knowing the language and culture of where I was born and grew up, and they and my parents, siblings and nieces will finally be able to really get to know each other a bit. (*) A. is our daughter, E. our son.

No comments: