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meet the Wickstra family

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the first of 4 families who will be journeying with us via our blog this year!

Benjamin and Cara Wickstra live in Holland. Benjamin practices dentistry at their family offices in Hamilton, Cara manages the active home life of their four children. Owen, 7; Alina, 5; Emmett, 3; and Gabriel, 1 keep her on her toes. Owen and Alina are both enrolled in school at Zeeland Christian School in Zeeland, MI in the Mandarin Chinese immersion program. Owen is a 1st grade and Alina is a preschooler. Ben and Cara have graciously agreed to share some of their experiences with language immersion education over the course of this next year, and we are thrilled to bring their stories to you.

We had the pleasure of sitting down at a park with Ben and Cara to record a podcast about their journey so far. Sit back and listen in as they talk through: the deciding factors that influenced their decision to enroll in a program (and to enroll specifically in Mandarin Chinese), the challenges and surprises of having children educated in a language they don’t speak, and how all of this has combined to shape the culture of their family!

We trust you’ll find this a fascinating (and personal) look inside why families are cherishing this experience.




Filed under: dliparents, Uncategorized

About the Author

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Kristi Van Dyk is an immersion parent who is passionate about offering dual language immersion as an educational option to all schools and districts. The opportunity to raise bi-lingual children, despite her family’s lack of second language proficiency has expanded the dreams she and her husband have for the future of their children. It is this passion for real life change that Kristi brings to all of our new partner schools. Kristi’s educational training began at Hope College in education in the areas of English and Mathematics for elementary. Kristi pursued additional training in brain based curriculum development through the Midwest Brain and Learning Institute as well as an M.A. in educational administration from Western Michigan University. You can find Kristi connecting with new potential partners, sharing experience with new parents and assisting with training of new teachers.

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