Frustrated

Dear Queenie,

  I don't speak Dutch, however, I enrolled my little one in an all-Dutch elementary school with Dutch as the language of instruction in the hopes that the youngster will take to the language and eventually become proficient in it.

  I enrolled the child in a Dutch afternoon school program, we read at home in Dutch nightly for ½ hour, watch appropriate Dutch television programs yet my little one still hasn't caught on to the language after 3 years in the all-Dutch school.

  Now I feel guilty for making the initial decision as the youngster now struggles to keep up. 

  Queenie, can your child fluently speak and master another language in school even if you don't speak that language?—Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

  As you have seen, sending your child to a school where the language of instruction is one the child does not speak or understand is not a good idea, as the child will not be able to keep up with his or her normal school subjects.

  I suggest you send your child to a school where the language of instruction is one the child already speaks and understands and he/she can do well in the subjects being taught, including, if it is offered, a course in Dutch as a second language. If such a course is not offered in the school, you can send him/her to an afternoon programme where Dutch is taught as a second language.

  And, if your schedule permits, you might even want to join your child in that afternoon programme.