Dutch has been the official language of the island for years as the island is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba has recognized English as an international language, and has required that children learn English as early as the 4th grade. Since May 2003 Papiamento has also been officially declared as the official language, alongside Dutch. Aruba's location off the coast of South America has also made Spanish extremely important. Students begin learning this as early as 5th grade.
Papiamento is a language with roots mainly from Portuguese, and to a lesser extent, from Dutch, Spanish and English. It originated in the 16th century as a means of communication among slaves and slave drivers.
Papiamento was not considered important on Aruba until 1995. It was officially included in school curriculum in 1998 and 1999. Since then, the island has embraced the native language of Papiamento. A Papiamento dictionary and fairy tales written in Papiamento are now readily available on the island.