Winford Bilingual Primary School: Instilling the Roots of a Truly International & Holistic Education
Winford Bilingual Primary School

The internet and technology have made humans communicate beyond borders effectively and intrudingly. Further, deepening the roots of holistic education in the modern education paradigm, internationalism and globalisation are picking up the pace to complete the youth’s learning arc.

Surfing on the tides of internationalism, globalisation and digitalisation, the education requirement of the contemporary world is adding new features to its hat, allowing young minds a well-curated approach to holistic education.

The academic needs of today’s world have significantly changed from ‘Education for Survival’ to ‘Education for the Future.’ Parents all around the world are looking for an education system that grooms students in a holistic international environment.

The well-synchronised education approach for preparing students for the future has become the need of the hour of educators, educational institutions, parents and students. Moreover, international and bilingual education has been recognised as the key component for the holistic development of students.

With a conscience and well-curated vision of instilling international and futuristic educational pedagogies in the academic curriculum of the youth of the Netherlands is Winford Bilingual Primary School.

The school is a holistic primary school based on the principles of international education beyond borders. The school houses some of the finest primary educators and is a trendsetting institution in the country.

In an exclusive conversation with The Knowledge Review, Joy Otto, the Program Director of the Winford Bilingual Primary School’s department, shares the school’s eclectic journey and unique pedagogies that it has instilled for the smooth flow of quality education at the institution.

The Inception of an Immersive Bilingual Primary School

Winford Bilingual Primary School, Amsterdam, was established in 2019 by the Winford School Group, which is a trendsetting and one of the most prestigious educational groups in the country. The group has been running various Dutch primary and secondary education programs across the Netherlands. The Winford Bilingual was brought under the group’s flagship as a fully immersive dual language school.

In a couple of years of its establishment, the school has spread its wings wide and broad, expanding its reach to other prominent cities in Holland as another school was opened in Haarlem in 2021, and the third one at Hague is expected to be functional by 2023.

 A Vision of Well-Rounded Education Approach

Winford Education Group has been associated with curating a unique curriculum for various schools in the Dutch National Curriculum and the UK National Curriculum. Winford Bilingual Primary School, the only total immersion school in the Netherlands, has created its own curriculum for the school, carefully sculpting from the riches of the Dutch curriculum with the international curriculum standards linking closely with the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Talking about this in particular, Joy Otto says, “Our well-rounded approach, along with having a Dutch and English teacher in each classroom, means that the children are completely immersed in English and Dutch throughout every school day.

Furthermore, the philosophy of Winford Bilingual Primary School is not officially a Montessori School, but the Montessori School’s philosophy inspires the school management. The school’s teaching and learning approach has been heavily drawn from it. Expressing her views of the well-curated primary school philosophy, Joy Otto says, Our classrooms are designed to encourage all our students to be independent and to move at their own pace as much as possible. In their space, we try to encourage a love of learning in each child and a curiosity about the world around them that we hope will last for the rest of their lives.

The infrastructure and the classrooms at the Winford Bilingual Primary School reflect the global mindset within the Dutch community. Expressing her views about that, Joy Otto says, We believe that children learn best when they are given opportunities for success through interaction with their peers and the adults around them. We strive to promote a sense of community through mixed age groups in each classroom, where children work, play and eat meals together. We serve both international and Dutch students to make our school not only bilingual in language but culturally immersive.

“We believe that children should be respected as individuals and allowed to cultivate their innate desire to learn. Our goal is to provide the highest quality dual language education within a global setting, which prepares your child for life beyond the primary classroom,she further added.

Joy Otto – An Experienced Educator Leader

Joy Otto is the Program Director at the Winford Bilingual Primary School. Over the course of her long 22-year-old career, she has served the education system in various roles as an educator, classroom teacher, language therapist and education consultant. She has uniquely curated the curricula of Winford Bilingual School with the thoughtful alignment of the national standards in both the Dutch and English curricula.

A Well-rounded Holistic Curriculum

The academic and extra-curricular curriculum curated at the Winford Bilingual Primary School is a unique combination of three of the most recognised curriculums. Further, the combination is so well curated that it offers the young budding minds a well-rounded, holistic learning program.

Describing their unique curriculum curation, Joy Otto says, We focus on the academics, as well as social, health and emotional. We always review our curricula and the programmes we use to make sure we are offering the best educational methods for our students.

We offer multi-aged and multi-level classrooms, which means we can teach to each child’s abilities, she further adds.

A Personalised Learning Model

Ever since starting the academic venture in the education space, the school has appointed two teachers per class to maintain an easy and smooth flow of knowledge and academic excellence. Apart from that, the school has always emphasised keeping the class size small, which will result in a high ratio of teachers to students. This way, all the students at the school get the opportunity to be challenged and excel in academic and non-academic during the schooling years.

The personalised learning model is also indulged and included in the extra-curricular activities at the school. Highlighting the extra and co-curricular activities that aim for the overall development of students, Haarlem director, Alesi Haan says, Throughout the school year, we plan activities that are divided between lower and upper school, and other activities where the whole school participates at the same time. Examples: Halloween, 101 Days of School, Spirit Week, Sint and Christmas, End of Year Picnic, Sports Day. Our children and teachers are always excited to celebrate events with us. As we are a boutique school, all the children know each other, and we have a strong community spirit.

Preparing for the Future

Amidst the increasing globalisation and internationalism in all sectors, the school understand incepting strong academic values in their students. The school holistically grooms the students, preparing them to be global citizens and the future of tomorrow.

Joy Otto expresses how the school prepares its students for their holistic future, saying, Our children can have the option of a local Dutch Secondary School or an English-speaking Secondary School as we follow the Dutch and UK National Curricula. Our students do the required annual testing by the Dutch government for the Dutch curriculum. We also do assessments for the UK curriculum. Ther ensures that the parents know the education level of their children and what Secondary Schools would be the best option. We also have additional 1-1language coaching for any students who arrive later at our program.

Visionary Roadmap for the Future

After only being a young school in the education domain space and the early success that the school has achieved, the school management is confident about its future plans. Winford CEO Marc Peters is delighted with Winford’s expansion into bilingual education. “The long-held dream of offering bilingual education is catching on, with a concept that is close to our hearts. With this we offer children from the age of four the opportunity to immerse themselves in bilingual education and the associated cultural experience.

Briefly explaining its future plans, the marketing manager Jenni Iyoyo says, Our vision is always to offer boutique-style schools where we can focus on every child and keep a strong community spirit. In the future, we would like to open more bilingual schools in other cities around The Netherlands.

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