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There is no better way to practice our school theme of Every Nation, Every Tribe, and Every Tongue but to travel around the world or to have visitors come to us. Fourth Graders at EC’s Wyckoff Campus recently welcomed two visitors from across the ocean into their classrooms for several weeks. Eric Oosterwijk and Marien de Waard came to us as part of their internship through the Driestar Christian University (a post-secondary educational institution in the Netherlands) in order to gain experience in their teacher training much like a student-teaching experience here in the United States.

Eastern Christian was a good fit for them to fulfill the requirements as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year university student: their purpose was to work with a school and its teachers in another culture in order to learn about educational methods in order to develop their own personal educational concepts and methods for their future teaching careers. Male elementary school teachers are unique in the Netherlands which made having Eric and Marien here even more special. But being raised in the Netherlands Reformed tradition made their partnership with us even more appropriate as they witnessed teachers connecting subject areas to our faith in Christ.

During their time here, they spent most days with the fourth graders but also took time to observe other grades and subject areas in order to gather insights into the similarities and differences in educational pedagogies. One of their first experiences was joining in on our exciting, and quiet loud, Spirit Days in which the entire school dresses in their assigned house team colors and we compete in some friendly competitions of Minute-to-Win-It games! They came dressed in their colors and cheered on their teams! Their visit ended with the entire Wyckoff Campus student body enjoying a chapel led by Mr. Eric and Mr. Marien in which they taught us a bit about the Netherlands including comparisons in religious and education. We came away from that chapel with a love for their accents and a better understanding of a beautiful country that is three times smaller than New York State and where there are more bicycles than people!

Staff members were encouraged to invite Eric and Marien for dinner and those that did certainly enjoyed getting to know these gentlemen and their upbringing and future plans. Mary Faber and I loved our time with them learning the proper way to eat your hamburger—according to Marien a burger ought to be cut into sections and eaten with a fork!

Eastern Christian students enjoyed their time with Mr. Eric and Mr. Marien and wish them both the best as they complete their studies in the Netherlands.

Liesl Botbyl

By: Liesl Botbyl

Liesl Botbyl is the 4th-8th Grade STEAM Teacher and 8th Grade Science Teacher on EC's Wyckoff Campus.

Read More Articles by Liesl Botbyl
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