LanguageIn the cab back to the airport we interviewed the driver re: multilingualism in Aruba.
Dutch and the local language of Papiamento are the official languages of Aruba, but most Arubans speak a minimum of four languages including English and Spanish.
He told us that Aruban children speak Papiamento at home and in Kindergarten.
Then, in 1st grade (I'm pretty sure it was 1st grade, not 2nd -- but I wish to heck I'd taken notes) students move to immersion classes taught in Dutch.
The teacher speaks in Dutch (and does she write her words on the board?? I don't remember).
The children have a slate of her words at their desk, with a piece of tracing paper on top. They trace over the words as she speaks them.
They learn to hear Dutch at the same time they learn to spell Dutch.
That's the way things were done in America lo these many years ago. Both Frederick Douglass and Huckleberry Finn describe learning to read English by learning to spell English.
Aruban children commence studying English and Spanish in 5th grade. Some years back, they moved on to learn Italian, German, Portuguese, and French in high school, but that is no longer the case today.