Children with a migrant background often experience barriers in the Dutch classroom. Math and science lessons are taught in Dutch, leaving these children unable to use any knowledge and skills already developed in their home language. This increases the risk of them falling behind and feeling excluded.

Together with our partners at Wereldkidz, Voila, Spaarnesant, and Zonova, Multi-STEM is developing strategies to ensure that multilingual children feel welcome and can participate in classroom discussions. The research is currently focused on mathematics for newcomer children, and at a later stage it will also include children with a 2nd and 3rd generation migration background.

There are plenty of examples where multilingual strategies are successful at school. I was practicing counting to 10 with a Syrian student. She wasn’t very motivated at that moment and it was difficult to connect with her. Until I started to stumble my way through counting in Arabic. She immediately got excited and in that instant the roles reversed. After she taught me to count to 10 in Arabic, she decided she also wanted to try it in Dutch! – PhD researcher Lianne Stolte

For more information about the subproject ‘School’ contact Lianne Stolte,