Does your child speak two languages at daycare? Then, your child is probably going to one of the special daycare centers that has received formal approval of the Ministry of Social affairs to offer bilingual input in either English-Dutch or French-Dutch.

Your child is thus exposed to both Dutch and English or French at daycare. The Ministry of Social Affairs has commissioned a study into the effects of bilingual input at daycare centers on how children develop their language. A team of researchers working at the Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication of the University of Amsterdam will conduct this study.

In our research project, that will run from 2018 to 2022, we will examine children’s development in both Dutch and English or French. All children attending bilingual daycare are eligible for our research. In fact, we are dependent on your help and we will be (or may already have been) in touch to ask if we may follow your child as well. We will contact you via your daycare center.

Below, we will address a number of frequently asked questions. However, if you have more questions, or if you would like to receive more information about our research, do not hesitate to contact the MIND research team.

 

   WHat does the study mean for your child?
  • Every ten months, we will visit your child’s daycare center to do a number of brief language activities if your child is two years old or older. These tasks will take about 30 minutes, including breaks. In these tasks, children will be asked to name or point at pictures or we will try to have a little chat with them about a particular toy.
  • Every ten months, we will observe the playgroup in order to see which languages the teachers use, how they speak these languages, and how children respond to the teachers’ language use.
What does the study mean for you?
  • You know your child best. Therefore, we would also like to ask you to fill in an online questionnaire about your child’s language development and the language(s) spoken at home. Parents of children aged eight months and older will be contacted and asked to fill in this questionnaire, and we will check every 10 months if something has changed. So, depending on your child’s age, we will contact you once, twice or three times, until your child goes to school.
  • WHEN does the research take place?

    This project will run from 2018 to 2022, we will follow the children from the summer of 2018 to the spring of 2022. In this period, we will visit the daycare centers every ten months, and we will also contact you every ten months, until your child goes to school. You will also be notified about our visits well in advance.

     

    WHO carries out the reseaRch?

    The research team consists of a team of researchers who run the project. They are Kyra Hanekamp, Darlene Keydeniers, Josje Verhagen, and Eva Vos. They are supervised by Suzanne Aalberse, Sible Andringa and Folkert Kuiken. The team is assisted by a number of well-trained assisants. All members of the team visiting the daycare centers are registered in the Personenregister Kinderopvang (Person Directory Childcare) and have a Certificate of Conduct.

     

    WHERE do testing sessions TAKE PLACE?

    Children will be invited to do the language tasks on one of the days they are attending the daycare center. When possible, the the tasks will be carried out in a separate room or in the hallway to avoid distraction. Every session is recorded to meet the four eyes principle. But it will also enable us to rewatch (children often speak unclearly and they often point to things rather than speak). Parental questionnaires for are administered electronically, via safe software specifically designed for this purpose (Easion).

     

     What is a language task?

    An example of a language task is the vocabulary task. This task assesses children’s vocabulary knowledge and can be used as of the age of two. In this task, children are shown four pictures. Then they hear a word, and are asked which pictures match the word. The task is administered in Dutch, as well as in English or French, depending on the languages your child speaks. During the task, children receive only positive feedback. From our experience with these and similar tasks, young children enjoy doing them. However, we will not force your child to do the task. If for some reason he or she indicates either verbally or non-verbally that he or she does not want to do it or wants to quit we will stop the task. Taken together, the tasks last about 30 minutes, including short breaks.

     

    What kind of Supervision is provided during the research? 

    All daycare centers will remain under the regular supervision of the GGD during the entire study period. One condition for participating in this project, imposed by the Ministry of Social Affairs, is that Dutch is spoken 50 percent of the time, to ensure your child’s emotional well-being. All members of the team visiting the daycare centers are registered in het Personenregister Kinderopvang (Person Directory Childcare) and have a Certificate of Conduct.

     

    How is the privacy of you and your child safeguarded?

    We want to emphasize that this study fully complies with the requirements of the University of Amsterdam Ethics Committee and the new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that:

    • The data about you and your child will always be treated confidentially and will never be provided to third parties, which include The Ministry of Social Affairs as well as your daycare center. We will only do this upon your explicit request.
    • All data will be stored and processed anonymously. When we report on the results, you and your child will never be recognizable or retraceable and we do not make reports about individual children.
    • All data, including the video recordings, will be stored safely at well-protected servers of the University of Amsterdam, accessible only by members of the research team. The video-recordings will only be used for research purposes and will never be used for any other purpose.

     

    how Can i register for the research?

    You will receive an information letter and a registration form from your daycare center. Your child’s teacher will return the registration forms to the MIND research team.

     

     hoW can I register my child for bilingual daycare?

    There are 11 daycare centers in the Netherlands that offer bilingual daycare and participate in the research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs. They offer either English or French, in addition to Dutch, If you want to register your child at one of these daycare centers, please contact the participating centers.