New television programme aims to help children master Dutch faster

Dutch-language television channel Ketnet Junior and Flemish Education minister Ben Weyts have teamed up to present a new television programme called Sarah: Sokpop en de klanken (Sarah: Sock Puppet and the Sounds). They announced their initiative on Tuesday morning in the Paviljoen school in Schaarbeek, Brussels.

Weyts, of Flemish nationalist party N-VA, hopes the show will help children master Dutch faster. "Children need Dutch to learn, to grow up in our society and to have equal opportunities. You are never too young to start learning Dutch," he said. "You learn a language at school - but not just at school."

The Koala test, which measures the language skills of five-year-olds, shows that 15 per cent of Flemish pre-schoolers need additional language support. According to Weyts, the Ketnet Junior programme is an accessible way for parents to introduce their children to the Dutch language outside school.


Through eight short videos aimed at children between the ages of two and five, Sarah teaches children more about sounds in Dutch and the associated letters. A lesson package for parents was also developed with Odisee University of Applied Sciences.

"Thanks to Sarah: Sock Puppet and the Sounds, toddlers are prepared for reading in a playful way through sound awareness," says Karen Donders, director of public assignment at VRT. "Reading more makes you better at language and increases your social opportunities. Reading makes all other learning possible. That is why programmes around reading and reading aloud are a priority for VRT, with a special focus on children and young people."

The programme will be available on Ketnet Junior from 28 February.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO IMAGEBROKER

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