Language Learning

At ISUtrecht all teachers are considered language teachers – with a special responsibility to recognise and support each and every aspect of language learning. This involves learning a language, learning about a language, and learning through languages. It also encompasses using language as a tool to think, discuss and reflect on information, ideas and issues.

Picture by Lila Rodrigues

Language at ISUtrecht is arranged into three main strands:

  • Oral communications: listening and speaking – for language development, for learning and for relating to others
  • Written communication: reading and writing – for enjoyment, instruction, and information
  • Visual communication: viewing and presenting – for conveying ideas, values and beliefs through the interaction of image and language

All these aspects of language are integrated into the various areas of the curriculum. While the language strands can be taught separately, they are also interrelated and interactive.


Within the ISUtrecht community, we are responsible for language development of the primary students, so all primary students will be:

  • successful in English, having full access to the academic language
  • able to communicate in Dutch with confidence and functionality, with the ability to participate in Dutch culture
  • fluent in their mother tongue and able to communicate with confidence and functionality, with the ability to take part fully with the students’ native cultures
  • balanced multi-linguals with well-developed cognitive and language skills

English Language Acquisition (ELA)

English is the language of instruction at ISUtrecht. A large number of our students come from multilingual households. Some of them arrive at ISUtrecht speaking a language other than English. They need assistance in order to proficiently learn English as an additional language. The specialists in the ELA department work in close collaboration with class teachers to provide support for all of those children who are still acquiring English. They receive support according to their needs and their English proficiency. The ELA programme is designed to help students participate fully in the social and academic aspects of our school. This means ELA students are challenged academically in the same curriculum as their peers.

Mother Tongue

ISUtrecht is a multi-lingual community and we embrace our cultural and linguistic diversity. We celebrate the variety of languages spoken and encourage families to maintain and enrich their home language(s).

We are consistently updating and developing our mother tongue programme and currently offer after school lessons in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, Telugu and Turkish. In addition to this, teachers encourage students to use their home languages to access the school curriculum and communicate together, in a secure and positive manner.

Host country language and culture

King's Day at International School UtrechtAcquisition of more than one language enriches intellectual and personal growth and helps facilitate international understanding. ISUtrecht provides the opportunity for all primary students to either learn an additional language – Dutch, or to maintain and develop this language at a fluent level.

Our students learn Dutch in a supportive and engaging environment. They are encouraged to listen and speak as much as possible. They develop confidence as they learn through games, songs and activities designed to capitalise on their natural open-mindedness. The reading and writing of Dutch is introduced gradually as students become ready, or if they are already at a proficient level.

The Dutch programme is designed to enable students to develop communicative competence in their host country language. Our intention is that students will develop fluency alongside a life-long interest and ability to learn new languages.


ISUtrecht Language Policy
PDF document | 7 pages | 145 KB