Josien Deknatel is the founder of Kickstart Language School. Following the completion of her teacher training in the Netherlands, she worked for a number of years in commercial banking. Her teaching career began in London in the early 1990s where she taught Dutch at Linguarama and other language schools. She also taught at two adult education colleges.
Josien continued teaching when she moved to Nigeria, her students comprising both adults and children. Back in the Netherlands, she developed a course and a workbook specifically aimed at au pairs, which focuses on childcare-related vocabulary and language needs. It was a great success, with au pairs travelling from places as far afield as Haarlem and Utrecht to attend the courses. She then devised tailor-made courses for expatriates, taking into account not only their abilities, but also their varied interests and expectations. Josien has ensured that Kickstart has the flexibility and experience to cater for these needs.
As Kickstart has grown substantially, Josien now has to dedicate much of her time to managing Kickstart, which she also finds a rewarding task.
After several years of studying French and living in Paris, Christine went on to work for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Having lived abroad and travelled widely, Christine knows from experience how much fun and how important it is speak the language of the country that you are living in; in fact, it's the key to making you really feel at home.
She derives enormous satisfaction from teaching Dutch, and enjoys seeing the students grow more confident as the course progresses.
With The Hague's prime location and fantastic international environment, learning a language within a small group of people from different countries and cultures is enormous fun for both Christine and her students.
Paul previously taught Dutch to students aged between 16 and 25 years in secondary schools and vocational education. Over the past ten years he has mostly taught Dutch to people who come from abroad and who have a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Of all the groups he teaches, he most enjoys the students who are enthusiastic, eager to learn and keen to ask questions about their new language as well as learning about Dutch habits and culture. Paul is a creative teacher who likes to work not only with existing methods but also with material specially adapted for a particular group. It is fascinating for him to meet and work with students in an informal learning atmosphere and teaching gives him a lot of satisfaction.
Marina began her career in 1995 by training to teach English as a foreign language. In 1999 she received her lower secondary school teaching qualification, and following on in 2003, became fully qualified to teach at all levels of secondary education; she has been working in education ever since. Currently, a large percentage of Marina's work is made up of tutoring and aiding secondary school students with their school work.
Marina is aware of the practical reasons for learning a language: you want to be able to express yourself and communicate fluently in everyday situations. However, she understands that the fascinating nature of learning a foreign language lies in its potential to give you access to a whole new culture, broaden your horizons, and enrich your life. When Marina teaches, she tries to evoke this experience in her students.
Henny applies her year-long experience in teaching French at secondary schools (levels A1- B2) and her academic background in both the French and the Dutch language in her teaching. In 2012 she retired from her position at the secondary school, but wouldn't give up teaching. She now devotes herself to adult education, teaching the Dutch language to expats as well as to refugees on a voluntary basis.
She loves teaching small groups and invests a lot of time in involving students to actively participate to improve their communicative skills in Dutch as well as their understanding of the Dutch culture. She believes that understanding and speaking the language helps people to feel at home in the Netherlands.
Having spent many years as a teacher of Dutch in the secondary school system, Margreet has become specialised in teaching Dutch as a secondary language. She has lived abroad for several years and knows from personal experience how important it is to be able to speak and understand the language of the country you live in.
Because of the high level of motivation of the students Margreet finds that teaching Dutch is a rewarding experience. She enjoys combining the language training with information on Dutch history, culture and practical facts of every day life in Holland. Enabling people to find their own way in Dutch society gives her great pleasure.
Fokelien graduated in Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Groningen. Her major was Applied Linguistics and Linguistic Competence. Her study focused on teaching Dutch as a second language, as well as the development of teaching methods. She has fifteen years' experience teaching Dutch at all levels. Thanks to her education and experience, she knows all there is to know about the process of learning a second and/or foreign language.
Linguistics and language are her passion and she loves to share her knowledge with people from various countries and cultures in a professional manner. To her, it's a pleasure to pass on her passion and love for the Dutch culture to other people.
On completing secondary school, Maria went directly into the field of education, training at the Pedagogische Acadamie (Educational College). Initially, she taught in primary schools, but after giving lessons to children in the asylum-seekers community, she decided to transfer her skills to working with adults, coming to specialise in teaching Dutch as a second language. She has continued to enjoy this work since 2003.
Maria has a wide range of experience, and has taught Dutch language to a variety of groups at different ability levels. She takes great pleasure in working with motivated learners and enjoys transferring her own enthusiasm for the Dutch language to her students. Once she has achieved this, it's easy to approach the grammar! In Maria's lessons, she forms a solid base for language learning on which her students can build, and makes her classes as interactive as possible.
Currently a full time Dutch teacher, Diane originally started her career in language training by giving French lessons. However, due to the high demand for Dutch-language courses throughout the Netherlands, Diane decided to shift her focus, and began to teach her first language, Dutch. She has been doing this for many years and with great pleasure.
Although she considers it to be a challenging task, Diane loves teaching large groups of students, and especially enjoys the class dynamic, where she can combine the development of individual students and of the group as a whole. Diane is a creative teacher and takes pride in her ability to develop and supplement her teaching materials, making her classroom an innovative and exciting environment.
As an expat herself, Jacqueline has first-hand experience of what it is like to live abroad, and understands the pleasure of exploring and learning about new countries and their cultures. For Jacqueline, being able to communicate with locals in their own language is an enormously enriching part of this experience.
Away from the Netherlands, Jacqueline has been involved with various Dutch language institutes and has taught to a wide range of age-groups. She loves the international character of her classes, and enjoys helping students to improve and develop their understanding of Dutch culture by learning the language!
Mariet studied Dutch language, economics and law. After a career in both commercial business and national government services, Mariet and her husband decided to circumnavigate the world on a sailing yacht. In 2010 they returned to the Netherlands and settled back into Dutch life.
Knowing from experience how difficult it can be (and how helpless one can feel) without knowledge of the local language, Mariet is passionate about teaching Dutch to people from all over the world. Her goal is to help students to feel more at home in the Netherlands.
Carine studied Communication in Utrecht and worked in that field for twenty years. A couple of years ago, she decided to take up a new challenge and change direction. She retrained as a teacher at a teacher training college and started to work in primary education. At the same time, she also began a career as an NT2 teacher. She has worked at Kickstart School since 2016.
Teaching both adults and children gives her a lot of satisfaction. Using enthusiasm and empathy, she tries to bring out the best in her students. She finds the international setting of Kickstart School a very enriching and inspiring one.
After studying French and Law, Carola worked in the corporate world for years, both in the Netherlands and abroad. She knows from experience how important it is to speak the language of the country you live in. Not only will it make it a lot easier when you come into contact with other people, but it will definitely enrich your experience, as you will literally discover much more of the country. So, for exactly that reason, she is always very happy when people want to learn Dutch.
She likes to not only teach the language, but also teach students about Dutch culture. The fact that she herself, learns and encounters lots of different cultures in teaching is a great side effect. She finds teaching at Kickstart School, a truly international experience.
Erica has a medical and artistic background, with a wealth of experience in teaching in those fields. She retrained to become an NT2 teacher.
She is very interested in languages and speaks a number of different ones. She also experienced expat life, so she understands the desire and need to learn the language of the country you live in.
The nicest things about the Dutch lessons for her, are the moments when students start to speak and the exchange of cultures.
She tries to make the lessons as diverse as possible.
Kathleen has studied Dutch, English and Russian and went on to live and work in Russia and the United States for fifteen years.
She remembers well what it’s like to study languages and how to study them.
She loves teaching and has a knack for making complicated grammar easy and understandable.
Learning languages is a process and in her opinion it should be an enjoyable process!
My experience with Kickstart has been highly beneficial in both developing language skills and improving my knowledge of the Dutch culture. Josien's support is always spot on and very intuitive in relation to personal circumstances. She spends a lot more than the official time allocated to really get to know her clients and her approach is customised accordingly. She was recommended to me by other Shell colleagues who expressed the same sentiment and I was fortunate enough to benefit from this during the time I spent with her.
Vennasa van de Ven, Migration Manager working at Shell
Entering the Kickstart school premises alone gives you a push of energy and the commitment this will help to create is hardly unmatched in any other language school. The methodology and the approach used in the lessons also helps smoothly unlock the secrets of everyday Dutch. Kickstart School has helped me get in touch with the 'undutchable' culture of the Netherlands and its people. The individual language training I could experience at Kickstart School has been one of the best educational experiences I could have in Europe.
Alessandro d’Addario, European Law Enforcement
I really enjoyed my English lessons with the Kickstart School. The teacher was professional and really knew the subject. The way they teach is also great! The classes are presented in a clear and professional manner and the online exercises completed at home are very helpful. The teacher always provided useful feedback. It's a great experience to join a Kickstart course with such a friendly atmosphere of students and teachers.
Beatriz Pedroche, Spain
Kickstart has been the ideal place for me to learn. The teachers are very helpful and friendly and have always gone the "extra mile" to help me learn in a positive way. Their teaching is practical with elements that can immediately be applied to everyday living situations. Included in the lessons are cultural aspects of living in the Netherlands that make learning Dutch dynamic and fun; you learn the language and about the place and the people! The teachers took an active interest in my progress and provided valuable customized sessions that maintained my strengths and developed my weaknesses; all in a patient, fun and friendly style.
Graeme Ting, dentist from New Zealand
My first contact with Kickstart School was after 1 month of living in The Netherlands, when I started to study Dutch. At the time I didn’t have any knowledge of the language, but with their courses organized by levels I developed important language skills and learned about the Dutch culture. They all do a great job at Kickstart because their motto it’s not just a motto – they are really pleased to teach you. You learn a language in a friendly atmosphere, make new friends from all over the world, and all in a cosy building right in the heart of The Hague.
Anca Boros, mathematics and physics teacher from Romania
During my time with Kickstart I have learned a lot and gained confidence. I was always challenged by the interesting assignments, but never too much. I have really enjoyed the classes!
Sabine de Bruijn, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
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