1) How can I welcome and engage families of Multilingual Learners as active partners in their child’s learning?
Families have a wealth of knowledge to share, particularly about their language, culture, home life, and of course, their child.16 Research shows that strong home-school connections are related to positive learning and developmental outcomes for children from diverse backgrounds.17 Families play a critical role in helping to maintain the home language and culture for their children. Such an environment promotes children’s identity development, along with the other advantages of bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism.18 By partnering and engaging in two-way communication, teachers and families can share information and learn with and from each other. Within the classroom, teachers should integrate families’ language and culture in the learning.19 In turn, teachers help children make connections between their experiences in the home, school, and community to provide early learning experiences that best meet their needs.20 Communication with families should be frequent, ongoing, and responsive to families’ needs, even if you do not speak the home language.
*Note: When collecting information from families, gather information that will be helpful for informing instruction. Avoid questions that may be sensitive, such as those concerning citizenship or immigration status, which should not have implications for a child’s access to free public education (see CDE description of immigration status of students) and their right to feel safe and secure at school (as described in Assembly Bill No. 699).
Strategies are interrelated
Individual strategies across the different instructional topics are interconnected and should be implemented together, in a purposeful and connected manner throughout instruction, and not in isolation. Make sure to also consider your classroom or school’s language model when implementing the strategies and adapt accordingly.