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.

Language at ISUtrecht is arranged into three main strands:

  • Oral communication: listening and speaking – skills that are essential for language development, for learning and for relating to others
  • Written communication: reading and writing – for enjoyment, instruction, and information and other purposes
  • 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.

Multilingualism and international mindedness

We pride ourselves on being a unique body of learners: our students come from diverse language backgrounds bringing with them rich cultural resources. Although English is our language of instruction, we endeavour to work in and through languages with which students are comfortable, in order for them to access the curriculum. We have three language programmes in place:

  • English Language Acquisition (ELA)
  • Host Country Language (Dutch) Acquisition (DULA)
  • Home Language classes (HL)

English Language Acquisition (ELA)

Parents regularly read aloud in their home language in the library

For those students who may need extra linguistic instruction in English, there is a robust ELA programme in place. Through this programme we aim for students to become proficient in English, including academic language at an age appropriate level. The programme is designed to help students for whom English is an additional language, to participate fully in the social and academic aspects of our school.

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. In this way, we ensure that all students are challenged academically in the same curriculum.

Host country language and culture

Primary students celebrating the Dutch King’s Day

We believe that acquisition of more than one language enriches intellectual and personal growth and nurtures international mindedness. ISUtrecht provides the opportunity for all primary students to learn an additional language – Dutch. The Dutch Language Acquisition (DULA) programme aims for students to be able to communicate in Dutch with confidence and functionality and participate in Dutch culture.

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. Although reading and writing of Dutch is taught throughout the year, the emphasis is on conversational skills.

DULA is designed to enable students to develop communicative competence in their host country language. Our intention is that students will develop a life-long interest and ability to learn new languages. During the year we learn and celebrate some of the Dutch celebrations and learn about Dutch habits and customs.

Home Languages

Students and staff wished Miffy a happy birthday in their home language(s)

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. For more information, please view the Activities page.


ISUtrecht Language Policy
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