Jump to content


Dutch for first grader - Update


Recommended Posts

I am married to a Dutch national, and we currently live in America.

Our son (now 6) used to be pretty fluent in Dutch. He went to Dutch preschool and was at age-level for both English and Dutch.

But then we moved back to America, and my husband didn't keep up speaking Dutch with him. We just speak English around the house, and when I reminded my husband to speak Dutch to son he just did simple things, like "nee!" and "Ik hou van jou" ("no" and "I love you"). Result : Son refuses to speak Dutch, though I think he still understands a little.

I realized I need to lead by example, so I got the basic Pimsleur course from the library, and found that if I play it in the car while son is in he back seat he'll pick up some phrases. But a whole half hour of auditory learning is too tough for him to sit down and do by itself. So I'm looking into a course that we can use which will appeal to him and teach him Dutch in a structured way.

Since Dutch, and Dutch for kids, is pretty non-popular, it looks like my choices are Dino Lingo, Rosetta, and Tell Me More.

Dino Lingo looks like the most simple, but maybe too simple?

Rosetta Stone: I've read around the internet that some people have success using this for young children. Since he already has Dutch in his head (somewhere, way deep down), would this be a good choice?

Tell Me More I know almost nothing about. It looks like the homeschool package is for highschoolers, so would this be way over his head?

Any other possible resources?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If he still understands it, or at least some of it, can you make it interesting by trying to get him into some Dutch movies or childrens books / audio books? Maybe that sort of "immersion" (I know it's not really immersion, of course, but it's so different from an actual course that I don't know what it's called!) will give help his brain "remember" what it knows.


I know that I learned German as a very young child, but then all but lost it by not speaking it for close to 20 years. What helps my brain remember its German best is actually not to do any formal programs, but just to dive into movies and books. As I read and hear, I understand and it reminds my brain of all that really is hidden down in there somewhere, and I think it would take far longer for me to get the same amount of German brought to the fore-front if I was doing a more traditional learning situation. Also, when I started teaching my son German, I found that there was no way he'd sit through those "learn German" CD's from the library, but if I rip the audio from movies he likes, and play them through an mp3 player or CD in the car, he's more than happy to sit and listen to them for half an hour or more even. (Every time we get in the car, he now asks to listen to them, and he's only 3! :D)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since he has at least some background in the language, at this age I'd really just expose him to more of it. There are Dutch radio channels available online to stream - just have one of those going during the day. Encourage your DH to speak Dutch. Dutch movies/TV shows are great too - uitzendinggemist.nl has a bunch of shows (including kids shows). I personally have always been a fan of Klokhuis (it's a lot like How It's Made) and I believe they have shows like the Teletubbies/Sesame Street/etc as well. There are also a lot of clips on Youtube.


Something else you could do is watch the Dutch news (nos.nl, rtl.nl). It will be a little difficult for him, especially if his Dutch is very rusty, but it'll make the nuances of the language feel a lot more natural.


There aren't a lot of actual programs that I would recommend for Dutch to begin with, especially younger kids. Once he's older, books such as Teach Yourself Dutch and even a news article/dictionary will help him move into the written side of things. You could also get books for younger kids and slowly work through those with him. Annemarie Bon's books (http://www.annemariebon.nl/boeken/6_plus/) were the first ones I learned to read in first grade (I can't believe I could still remember the titles of some of the books today!). Get your husband to read them with him and translate them, if he's willing. They are very simple, and would expose him to the written side of things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are there any Dutch schools near you? There is one near me. They do fun activities throughout the year. It might be fun for him to have other kids that he can converse with in Dutch. I don't know where you live so this might not be an option.


I would love for my kids to learn Dutch too. I'm not sure how practical it is for us though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies!


I tried looking up the Ninjago Dutch page (son loves Ninjago), and was disappointed to not find much, but I did find a short clip in Dutch. When I played it, though, son said, "I don't understand! You have to play this in English!"


Argh, you're missing the point, kid!


When my husband speaks some Dutch with him these days he'll yell, "I only speak English!" I'm not sure where the resistance comes from, maybe he had a hard time adjusting when we moved from The Netherlands, and feels that Dutch makes him "weird" to other kids (there were a few weeks at first when his playmates complained that they couldn't understand what he was saying). Unfortunately, there's no Dutch group in our area (there would be if we spoke Finnish though....), but in a few months we'll be moving outside Atlanta and I found a Dutch group there (and there's a consulate too, oh good!).


uitzendinggemist.nl, Thank you! I think we looked at that before, but we were looking for the Mega Mindy shows, which aren't available there (it's Belgian anyways). Other one's "can't be shown in your geographical location," how annoying! But Het Klokhuis, yes, I think he'll really like that. If, you know, he overcomes his anti-13th-Warrior stance. He was never a fan of Sesame Street, either the Dutch or English versions, unfortunately.


Are there any good Dutch games online for kids? He likes playing computer games.


I take it there's no recommendation for Dino Lingo? It looks like it's 100% Dutch, but I'm not much impressed with the graphics. Maybe son would not find it too annoying... and maybe it would still be worthwhile as something which gives him "I can speak Dutch" confidence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just mention some options:


you know www.schooltv.nl this is dutch schooltelevision about almost any subject from 'Sinterklaas' to 'uiterwaarden'.

groep 3 = 1st grade

I sees you child is 6 so I especially recommand : leesvos, letterdas, boekentas a Dutch phonics/reading program on TV.

www.entoen.nu is a site about the 50 windows in the Dutch history, there is a lot on the internet about this 'canon'

do you know www.wereldschool.nl this is a correspondence school for Dutch Expats, but anyone who pays the price can use that. If I'm correct informed thet have also 'keeping Dutch alive' kits for children attending local schools.

Try to find the 'Arend van Dam' books and let DH read them aloud, these are available for history, geography, art etc. written for this age



and if not, ask further on


Dank U! Dank U wel!


entoen.nu looks really great. We'll be doing World history in the Fall, and we could do the entoen lessons as we go through topic.


I think the in-laws are planning on sending some books, I'll ask about the Arend van Dam.


schooltv.nl - I played that, and my husband (sitting next to me) said "hey, I used to watch that when I was a kid!" Lol, so maybe they'll watch it together.


And, I have nothing against Belgians, btw! But in-laws are from the North, and they'd be very annoyed if he failed to say his g's and r's correctly, er, I mean, like they do. :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my husband speaks some Dutch with him these days he'll yell, "I only speak English!" I'm not sure where the resistance comes from, maybe he had a hard time adjusting when we moved from The Netherlands, and feels that Dutch makes him "weird" to other kids (there were a few weeks at first when his playmates complained that they couldn't understand what he was saying). Unfortunately, there's no Dutch group in our area (there would be if we spoke Finnish though....), but in a few months we'll be moving outside Atlanta and I found a Dutch group there (and there's a consulate too, oh good!).


FWIW, it was the complete opposite for me, growing up - I lived in The Netherlands, and my mom (who is from the US) was trying to teach me English.


I had that same resistance to English that your son seems to be having to Dutch. I refused to reply in English to anything my mom was saying, no matter how hard she tried. ;)


However, she did keep exposing me to the language, and I learned to understand it perfectly (though I still wouldn't speak it). When I was around English relatives, I could communicate with them. I don't remember how much I actually spoke in English to them, but I definitely had no problem understanding them. Once we moved to the US, I picked it up right away. I think I was in ESL for the first half of fourth grade because I had a pretty thick accent, but I was good to go from there.


The point behind all this is, I guess - exposure really does make a difference. He may not want to speak in Dutch, but if you keep exposing him to it he'll at least get an understanding of it, which is really the toughest part. Once he's older and willing to actually study the language, it should be a lot easier for him to pick up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some songs he probably learned in Pre-K but with words displayed so you can see how to pronounce some words




That looks good, thanks again! Sometimes the audio isn't clear, but it's something I can give to my husband and say "here, do this with him." Poor guy feels lost and confused with all this, sometimes. He's barely keeping his own Dutch going by reading Telegraph and watching rtl. Can I just say that I find Dutch newspapers to be pretty bizarre? I had no idea JLo was so fascinating.... :glare:


I showed DS the Dino Lingo intro video (Dieren) and he liked it ok, but he had no problems repeating the vocab and the whole sentences, nearly flawlessly, the first time it was introduced (and then translating it to English when husband asked). Considering the fact that the program only comes with 5 DVD of 35 minutes each, it seems a bit pricey for something he'll be done with in a few weeks, if not a few days. Wish my library had it....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, Telegraf is only good for comic diversion, I think.... :tongue_smilie:


Leesvos, letterdas, boekentas looks really good. I was also looking at Taal met Moffel en Pier, that could definitely do everything Dino Lingo promises, but in a better way.


It's funny, I was always confused about what people really meant by "immersion" being better. But at the end of the Taal episode about letter soup one of the little girls waved her hand by her ear in the silent sign for lekker. I very much doubt Dino Lingo (or even Rosetta stone) would teach that!


I wish there was something I could print off to go with each episode to talk about the vocabulary. I guess I have to impress on my husband the necessity of sitting and watching it with DS and then talking about it together.


Another resource I found is http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/ResultByWorld?area=4&start=0&pgct=12&ilangcode=en&ilang=English&view=cover&sort=title&type=0&country=country38


Thanks for all your help! If you come across anything else, I'd really appreciate it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Well, we moved and signed the kid up for Dutch language school. But he came out of class last night in tears. They got a new teacher this week, and she didn't know how little Dutch he understood - so he got very lost and frustrated.


DH has tried to pick up Pimsleur with him again, doing only ten minutes of each lesson a day. Which is okay - but slow.


In desperation, I went poking around the internet again, and found what I've been looking for!


Je kan me wat


It's free. It has audio. It has worksheets. And it looks like it is at exactly the right level for CrazyPants.


:party:  :party:  :party:


I think it would be difficult to use if there is no Dutch speaker in-house, but for us it is perfect. Just wanted to share.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Reviving this old thread...


I'm trying to teach my kids some Dutch now. I've sung songs to them since they were babies, but when it became apparent that my oldest was having some serious communication delays (due to having an autism spectrum disorder), I decided to focus on him learning *one* language (I was seriously worried for a while he'd end up knowing zero languages). He's caught up a lot with English, and we're ready to try a second language - Dutch. But other than me having sung songs to him and his little brother, their knowledge of Dutch is close to non-existent. They're 7.5yo and 4yo. Some of the resources mentioned above look really good... just hoping someone has some more ideas. It's so hard to teach a language when no-one speaks it except the one parent and materials are hard to obtain/expensive.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

lotto, memory, who is it, 'kwartetten' or 'zwarte pieten' are good starting points for using vocab.


For french we are using now 'Speech':


You can play it any language.

You have to made up an story with 4-6 given images.

You should have a knowledge of grammar and verb conjugation in this game, but it helped dd to start to speak.

For elder children you can use story cubes, but we think they are more difficult (geared to adults)


Also for a little bit older is 'Fan of Flanders' it is a bilingual Flemish-English program

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to update -


Duolingo came out with Dutch recently. It was in beta, but it has been improving. My DH sent in some corrections. It also had some odd sentences, such as Ik ben een appel, to which someone commented "Natural enemy of the house of Orange!" lol.


Duolingo has been pretty good for building vocab and simple sentence structure. It also makes him type responses, which was good for him (unlike Mango, which just let him click through as quick as possible). 


He's not verbally fluent or anything yet, but his comprehension has improved.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...