Our mission is bringing people together, across languages, cultures, age-groups, professions, and so on.
We do that by bringing out the kid in people. We believe that people are inherently good, and by bringing out the kid in people you strip out all defenses and prejudices and make people truly open to one-another.
To bring the kid out, we do what kids like to do: playing games, making food, learning languages, singing songs, playing music, making friends and so on. We believe that these activities take us to the core of what it means to be human.
To make this happen, we create the optimal space (with games, musical instruments, books, and so on) with the optimal community of people (open-minded, friendly, eager to help and learn, and so on). We believe that this creates a safe space for people to truly come together.
Vision on language learning
At the language café events we speak Dutch only. We believe that by speaking in Dutch only, your mind will switch to ‘Dutch-mode’. Even a few words of English can get you out of this mode. So if you don’t know something, instead of explaining it in English, try to communicate using body language, making drawings, or telling it in another way. This teaches you how to survive in any situation using Dutch only, and improves your confidence in the real world.
Language learning should be fun and intrinsically rewarding
We believe that language learning is not a chore to get through in order to get to some reward in the future; we believe that language learning should be intrinsically rewarding from day one. To achieve this, we focus on practical application of the language, in fun situations, instead of artificial exercises, grammar, and memorization. We also focus on fun activities that are rewarding on their own, so that learning Dutch becomes a by-product of a fun activity!
Language learning through games
Playing games is a great way of learning a language. People learn better in low-anxiety situations and games release a lot of tension by creating funny situations. Games also provide a way to have a natural conversation, but that still has structure. Also, people learn a language better when it is about something that interests them, and games make the conversation naturally interesting to players. Therefore we use games a lot a language learning tool.
Fluency over grammar
We try to not focus on complicated grammar rules. We do this for a few reasons:
- Explaining grammar rules takes a lot of time, which can better be used another way.
- Knowing rules can actually hinder you, as you will be more conscious of mistakes.
- Grammar in the end is not very important. Being able to convey a message is what truly matters, even if there are a few mistakes.
- You will pick up a feeling for grammar anyway, by just getting comprehensible input in the language. After a while, wrong grammar will just feel wrong, without even knowing why.
- Natives don’t even know much of their grammar, and yet they can speak perfectly well!
Instead of focusing on grammar, we focus on fluency, confidence, and natural conversation. When you make a grammar mistake, we will correct you by giving the right way to do it, but we won’t go in depth in why it is correct that way.