Page 26 - Second language development of newly arrived migrant kindergarteners - Frederike Groothoff
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26 Chapter 1 education (Ministry for Primary and Secondary Education and Media3, 2015a). Between October 1, 2017, and October 1, 2018, the number of newcomers (pupils who were not born in the Netherlands, who have been fewer than four years in the Netherlands, and of whom both parents were not born in the Netherlands either; Educational Inspectorate, 2019, p. 149) increased by approximately 6,000 to a total of 61,544 pupils. This number of newcomers accounted for 4.3 percent of the total of primary school pupils (Educational Inspectorate, 2019). Even though newly arrived migrants should have access to education on the same terms as children who were born in the country, some newly arrived migrants start in a separate education facility, a so-called preparatory class. The European legislation describes such preparatory classes as “aimed at facilitating the access of minors to the national education system, and/or specific education designed to assist their integration into that system” (European Parliament, 2009; Article 14, 2). In the Netherlands, such separate preparatory classes may differ per municipality. Each school board decides how to act when newly arrived migrants settle in their district. According to the Educational Inspectorate the total number of asylum seeker schools as well as large, relatively independent educational facilities for newcomers was 75 on October 1, 2019 (Educational Inspectorate, 2019). However, in addition to these there were also smaller facilities. In some regions school boards have decided to mainstream (fully integrate) all newly arrived migrant pupils after arrival. In most of these regions, there might be some form of specific language support for a few hours a week, inside or outside the classroom. In other regions there are separate preparatory classes, and the organization of those may take two different forms: (1) an independent full- or part-time school for pupils with Dutch as a second language or (2) a full- or part-time class for pupils with Dutch as a second language within a mainstream school. The difference between the two types of separate classes is that the second form, a separate class within a mainstream school, shares the building with a mainstream school and therefore it is assumed that pupils attending these language support classes have more contact with pupils from the mainstream school. They might share the playground, attend sporting facilities together, or celebrate festivities together. Most separate classes in the Netherlands are available only after kindergarten, around the age of 6 or 7, when pupils start “Group 3,” the third year of primary education in the Netherlands4. This implies that most newly arrived migrant kindergarteners (aged 4 and 5) usually start immediately in a mainstream class, in most regions there is no separate class for pupils their age with Dutch as a second language. 3 Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap - OCW. 4 The third year of primary education in the Netherlands is compatible with Grade 1 in the U.S. system and Year 2 in the U.K. system.  

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