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The importance of the mother tongue

Do you live abroad, and do you want to pass on your mother tongue to your child? Then this is the best gift you can give your child. There are many misconceptions about keeping up with or learning the mother tongue abroad. The consequences of not keeping up with the language are often underestimated by parents. We, from Wereldschool, list the most important arguments about the importance of keeping up with the mother tongue for you!

Good intake and smooth return

Are you planning to stay abroad temporarily? In that case, it is important to keep up with the mother tongue language. There are various options, via recognized online providers or local language and culture schools. Due to a well-developed language, your child flows seamlessly back into the education system and has a good connection with the language and education level of the school. By keeping up on the same level as their peers the transition is most likely to be much smoother. And they won’t fall behind a level, due to a language gap.

Learning a new language is not always easy

With this insight, you preferably want to start learning or keeping up with the language as early as possible. Preferably from the second year of life. Learning a second language, such as the Dutch language, is not easy. Certainly not when starring at an older age. Ensure that the basics are there by expanding the vocabulary with reading books and speaking at home. Speaking the vocabulary at home, or only in social settings is not enough. For a well-developed language level, we recommend that you pay structural attention to this with professional language lessons.


Raising your child multilingual is not only good for contact with family “back home”, but also for his or her position on the labor market. The other benefits are that multilingual children are more language sensitive; they have greater working memory, and it has a positive contribution to faster reading.

Learning more languages at the same time and doing extra homework can be a struggle. It may take you and your children extra effort. But if you start early and keep it up, this will pay off in the short and the longer term!

Would you like to know more about Dutch lessons at Wereldschool?

The Wereldschool provides recognized Dutch lessons to students staying abroad. Expat children, children who speak a different language, travellers, international athletes or missionaries are involved in their educational programs. The educational advisors prepare a tailor-made advice and look for the best educational package that suits the learning needs and wishes. Contact the Wereldschool for a free consultation to ask all your educational questions about keeping up with or teaching the Dutch language to your child.

Watch tip: watch the recording of the webinar 'The importance of keeping track of the mother tongue' via the YouTube channel of the Wereldschool.

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