Students are divided into groups, based on their age, number of students, and knowledge of the Dutch language. Within the main groups we differentiate as much as possible to the individual student’s level. Sharing knowledge, mutual help, and a positive environment are important in the classroom.
All teachers are either qualified through a Dutch institution, or have received dispensation by the Dutch Inspector for Elementary Education Abroad. All teaching is done with professional, NOB-approved materials.
The curriculum for the different groups has been laid out in the DSSoCal school plan. The youngest children (pre-K and K, or group 1 and 2 in the Dutch system) usually don't have an extensive Dutch vocabulary. In this group, teachers emphasize play and exploratory learning (through different developmental materials, expression, singing, etc.), expanding vocabulary, and extending speaking and listening skills. Reading instruction only starts after the student has acquired solid reading skills in English. This is to prevent confusion and transfer between the languages.
In the next groups all four language skills are addressed: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Spoken language has first priority. Expanding the active vocabulary and speaking ability is emphasized for children who are not fluent in Dutch. For children who speak reasonably well, written language skills will receive equal attention.
Dutch and Flemish culture will be addressed in thematic units, and the celebration of some Dutch cultural events and holidays will be observed.
The DSSoCal teachers normally give a small amount of homework. Homework will certainly contribute to faster progress, so for families and students who want to do more, extra assignments are available.
The DSSoCal asks families to spend as much time as they can speaking Dutch. Teachers provide advice and support when needed.