ERSEA Institute 2022
Dual Language Learners: Family Recruitment and Engagement Strategies
Dr. Xigrid Soto-Boykin: Welcome, [Inaudible] and bienvenidos. I am thrilled to join you all today as we talk about today’s presentation, a topic very near and dear to my heart, Dual Language Learners: Family Recruitment and Engagement Strategies.
My name is Dr. Xigrid Soto-Boykin. I am a content expert at the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. I’m also an assistant research professor at the Children’s Equity Project. What brings me to this work and why I’m so passionate about it is because I learned English when I was 11 years old. I remember what it was like to be a dual language learner, and I’ll try to use my personal experiences in combination with my professional experiences to elevate this topic for you all today.
Today’s objectives are two. First, we want to explain effective strategies for recruiting and enrolling families of children who are dual language learners, or DLLs. Our second objective is to describe strategies for engaging families with children who are DLLs to promote their retention into programs. But let’s start with our definition.
According to the Head Start Program Performance Standard’s, a dual language learner refers to “a child that is acquiring two or more languages at the same time, or a child who’s learning a second language while continuing to develop their first language.” Typically, we prefer a term like “a dual language learner” so we highlight children’s bilingualism rather than a term like “English language learner” or “English-limited proficient,” since that only centers part of their identity of speaking English.
The nice work is that today’s topic centers on Head Start’s coordinated approach across management systems and program services. Specifically, what we’re going to talk about today relates to integrating culturally and linguistically responsive practices for all children, respecting and incorporating families’ cultures and languages into both the management systems and services provided, and ensuring that all program service actively promotes the development of a positive cultural and individual identity for all children and families, regardless of the languages that they speak. As we keep this performance standard at the core, it helps us inform how we can effectively both recruit and retain families with children who are DLLs.
Let’s jump right into it. Right now, we’re going to talk about “How do we recruit and enroll families of children who are DLLs?” Let’s dive in. General strategies are really threefold – first, to conduct and integrate data from a community assessment. Second, to coordinate services for families and children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Third, to provide information and materials in families’ home language. We’ll describe what that looks like next.
Let’s start with the community assessment. Every year, Head Start grantees are required to do a community assessment, and you can find this resource here on the ECLKC website. The purpose of the community assessment is to gather an analysis and data regarding what are the needs of the community to both inform federal and local agencies as we’re thinking about how do we expand Head Start so it fits the needs of the community. This is a great opportunity to gather information about families that are linguistically and culturally diverse. One of the ways to do that is to gather survey data regarding what are the languages represented in the community? What are the cultures represented?
It’s important to have those voices elevated into the community assessments. One way to do that is to make sure that materials are translated to the different languages represented in the community. Then there’s the trusted individuals, such as cultural brokers or family advocates or maybe even former Head Start parents, that can speak on the value of completing the survey and how that helps promote inclusion into Head Start.
One of the things to think about is to be creative about how do we make sure that this community assessment reaches the families of our interest? One way to do that is to learn about a specific community and think about what recruitment strategies match the needs to the communities. Sometimes that can be about partnering with community advocates, religious organizations, or things that are – I would call them trusted messengers in the community that can help spread the word about why is this survey for the community so important, and how does that relate to the services of Head Start that the families can benefit from?
Another one of my favorite resources from ECLKC is Head Start’s Dual Language Learner Program Assessment. Once you have your community data, this guides that coordination of services between management and program administration. I like this tool because it helps self-evaluate the services that children who are DLLs and their families receive. Specific to the topic of recruitment and enrollment of families, there are specific relevant recommendations that I’m highlighting here today.
On page 17, there’s the communications section. This one talks about making sure that all the materials that families are going to come in contact with to learn about the Head Start program and about enrollment are accessible to the families in their home language. It’s also important to realize that not all families relate to printed materials. Sometimes using multimedia, like videos or signage in the preferred language, can also be really effective.
The second thing I wanted to highlight from the DLLPA is on page 28 that talks about including culturally and linguistically responsive practices. Again, this is really making sure that we start learning about the community. What are their cultural and linguistic needs and how can we meet them so that process of eligibility and recruitment about Head Start is demystified.
Finally, on page 28, just to extend what we’ve already talked about, this part is very important. Once you have your data aggregated and identified from the community assessment, one of the best practices is to budget for language assistance and inclusion of bilingual personnel that matches the linguistic needs of the community. I love this phrase – “linguistically match.”
We want to make sure that we’re intentional about the Head Start program and making sure that the outside of the community matches the inside of the Head Start community. It’s important to have the funds allocated ahead of time to provide those services so it happens as a forethought rather than later.
Then, the reality. We always encourage and plan to have all languages represented in the community also represented in Head Start programs, but we do acknowledge that that’s not always possible, as communities are often changing and then the needs are also changed as well. When you are in a situation where you’re interested in recruiting and enrolling families, but you do not speak their language and you don’t have anyone around you that does, there’s certain technological tools that we can use to support that communication.
I’ll just highlight my three favorite ones right now. The first one is Google Translate. It’s an app that you can easily download on your phone or a tablet. You can type in your message in English and then play it so the family can hear it in their home language. That’s one way to reduce some of that linguistic barrier.
A second thing that is helpful is called DeepL. You can also find this for free across different, either Google Play or iTunes. It is one of the most reliable tools for translation across several languages. Finally, a really interesting app is called World Lens app. With this app, you can actually take the phone, point it at any type of environmental print or sign, and it automatically translates to different languages.
I think what’s really important about this is that we are able to communicate to the families like, “We care about your language, and you matter here in Head Start.” I think that’s one of the ways that we can really make sure that we can recruit families, when they can feel valued and met.
I think one of the more effective strategies are using cultural guides. A culture guide is an individual who is culturally and/or linguistically matched. Someone who comes from the same place as the families of children with DLLs. They can really help, again, be this trusted communication about Head Start, about the recruitment process, having a familiar face that can help them understand what to expect.
What we can think about is how can we identify good cultural guides that we can have participating in Head Start. When we think about good cultural guides, ideally, it could be a family member, a caregiver that has already gone through the Head Start program and is a believer of Head Start. That’s ideal. Also someone who’s dynamic. Someone who understands. I call them insiders, an insider of the culture. Someone who is very good about maintaining two-way communication and establishing trust.
Of course we know ECLKC has amazing resources. I will be highlighting many, many today, including this one that focuses on how to invite and support cultural guides and home language models. Then when you read that brief, really focus on what is a cultural guide. How do you include them to recruit families?
Also, if the child’s already enrolled in the classroom, how do they support the child’s home language development? It talks about how program leaders can identify strong cultural guides. It also describes additional qualities that are desirable in a cultural guide that’s going to be effective in helping recruit and enroll families. It’s a wonderful resource that I invite you to take a look at it.
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about recruiting families, I would like for you to think about what are some ways that you could use a cultural guide to support recruitment of families with children who are DLLs in your program. You can do that in different ways right now. I invite you to provide your answer in the Q&A. You can definitely do that. Then you can also scan the QR code on this slide to share your answer on our Jamboard.
Jamboard, I imagine, it’s a virtual blackboard with post-its, and you can click on the “add” button on the slide to add your comment. We would love to hear everyone’s collective answers, because I feel like we all learn from each other. I like saying that we’re all co-learners, so please feel free to supply your answers.
We’ll talk about another important point about recruitment. We talked about it at the structural way, like at the programmatic level, how do you conduct community assessments and collect data to help you understand who your target population is. We talked about using cultural guides. The third component to think about is how do we create welcoming environments? One of the best ways to do that is to really be intentional about the environmental print that’s available in the Head Start program.
Things to think about in regards to environmental print are the classroom door, any kind of bulletin board, any kind of poster, materials in the classroom, word walls. I think it sends an important message to families that they matter and their language matters, and we are here to really build a loving community around the children that are served in the program. One thing to do, once you have your community assessment data, you can collaborate with a cultural guide or use some of the technologies that I described earlier to help you translate materials in different languages.
For example, you can see here how there’s a picture of a dad with a child, and then there’s the word “dad” in English with different, like “papa” in Spanish and “abbaa” in a different language. Notice how you can also have like different greetings that you can use. What I really liked about this is that you can use – that’s a great way as a program leader or as an educator to really like practice how to say some keywords, because knowing those keywords can make a big difference in helping families feel welcome. When someone feels welcome, they’re more likely to develop buy-in and want to enroll into Head Start.
Of course we all know that recruitment and enrollment is one major step, but we can’t stop there. We have to think about how do we retain families of children who are DLLs. Let’s highlight some major ways that we can do that. Again, I love the DLLPA, so I’m going to highlight it again, and this time really focus on the pieces that are relevant to family engagement. You can find that on page 55. That really talks about how do you recognize parents as their children’s primary teachers and nurturers.
We know that regardless of someone’s home language or culture, one thing that I have always found universal is that everyone just cares so much for their child, and they want them to succeed. Recognizing that families are key, the primary and most longstanding teacher for their children, can really set the tone of family engagement and retainment.
Another strategy is to integrate cultural and linguistic responsive strategies when partnering with your families. We’ll talk a little bit more about what that might look like. Finally, help families feel welcome by greeting them in their home languages and displaying images and items from their home cultures. We talked a little bit more about that in the previous slide, but this also says that it aligns with best standards for DLLs.
Overall, when we think about how do we retain families of children who are DLLs, it’s really important to establish positive relationships and positive rapport with families. I know that that’s universal for all families, but let’s think about … We’ll talk a little bit more about what does that look like for families of children of children who are dual language learners. Again, how do we engage families in ways that are culturally and linguistically responsive?
In terms of establishing positive rapport and relationships with families, it’s important to build reciprocal relationships with families. Sometimes that can be very challenging when there’s a linguistic barrier. It’s important to collaborate with an interpreter or a cultural guide if you don’t have anyone in the program that can speak the family’s home language.
I think one of the best ways that I’ve learned to work with people that are different than my cultural linguistic background is to ask a lot of open-ended questions that allows families to tell you a little bit more about what do they value for their children and what are their goals – rather than saying, asking a lot of “yes” or “no” questions, really asking those open-ended questions that facilitate dialogue.
For example, you could ask the question, “What is the most important thing that you want your child to know?” That, to me, sets the tone of “Your voice as a family is very important to me, and I am here to support you.” I love the term “co-learner.” I’ll keep saying it. Positioning ourselves as co-learners in facilitating the child’s success and healthy development.
That really relates to the second point, which is making sure that we acknowledge that, between the education team in Head Start and the families, that it’s a team. There has to be co-learning between all of us, that we all validate our expertise and desires for their children.
Sometimes, in my experience, in order to make sure that we have positive relationships with families and there’s good buy-in, I think it’s important to first just work on something that the family really cares about. For some people that might be, “I want my child to really be independent when they’re eating their snacks.” What I love doing is partnering with families and showing them how that can be done in an age-appropriate way.
Then really celebrate the child’s success and the family and say, “Oh my goodness! You were so right. That was such an important goal. Look at what your child can do. I could not have done it without you.” Or “What do you think? This is how we do our snacks at school, but how would you do snacks at home? Can you tell me about some of the foods that you would eat? Could you bring them to the classroom?” Things like that to really establish that it’s a co-partnership not the educators as the sole experts.
This really relates to making sure that we learn about family’s views of early childhood development, because this can actually change based on someone’s background. In some cases, there might be a little bit of conflict between one’s values as an educator and child development specialist and what the family sees as valuable.
When that happens, it’s important to have that mutual trust and reinforce this idea of that we’re all having a common goal to help their children succeed and that there can be mutual understanding and collaboration, because we don’t want to create this dynamic where it’s “my way or the highway.” We want to make sure that family’s needs are truly centered, so they feel empowered to be their family’s first and most important teacher.
How do we engage families of children who are DLLs to promote retention? One of the ways of doing that is to make sure that we really think about being culturally and linguistically responsive. If you’re anything like me, you have probably heard that term before, but it’s taken me a little bit to understand what that actually means. Let me break it down for us today.
“Culturally and linguistically responsive” means that we are really centering the family’s and children’s culture and language experiences, and that we are using their culture and language to help children learn in the classroom. I like to think about it this way – I think about the child’s learning environment through the programs they’re receiving in Head Start, matching the learning environment that occurs in the home. If it doesn’t, what can we do to bridge some of those connections.
Some of the ways to do that is to really think about engaging families by conducting an inventory of families’ cultures and language, and realizing that not every person from one specific cultural background has the same exact experience. We need to approach families with curiosity and humility to learn about what matters to them, because – thinking broadly, in broad strokes of like, “All Mexican Americans have this culture” – we know culture is more nuanced than that. That’s why I like asking the questions and getting to understand the family so it’s not just us coming down and making assumptions. We’ll talk a little bit more about that next, but that’s just one key thing to remember.
We also went to embed family’s funds of knowledge in their child’s learning experiences, and we want to partner with families to adapt classroom materials so they reflect their children’s culture and language. We will discuss what these things mean in detail next. We’ll start with this idea of conducting a home language and cultural survey, so we can then learn how to better engage and retain families.
On this slide you’ll see examples of a home language inventory from Cox Campus that is available for free download in Spanish and in English. You’ll see that there’s on this first box or first image, there’s a highlight in yellow. That just means that if a family speaks English only at home that this survey may not be the most appropriate for them. It’s really designed for families that speak a home language other than English and represent different cultural backgrounds.
Then there’s different kinds of questions. Some of the questions relate to the language practices that happen at home, and who are the communication partners. But there’s also specific questions related to culture, which I think are really helpful in making sure that we can adapt our instruction to match the family’s needs and preferences.
This kind of survey helps me have the information that I need to then collaborate with the family to adapt materials so they’re culturally and linguistically diverse, rather than me just assuming that a family might have specific cultural and linguistic preferences or needs without me understanding. Again, instead of assuming, it’s always, always best to ask. Ask open-ended questions, gather information, and realize that even if you don’t speak a family’s home language, you are not alone, and there’s ways to partner with them and others so we can provide the right information.
Before I proceed, I would love to hear your thoughts. What has been the most enlightening thing that you’ve learned today? Or maybe something you already knew, but that you would like to implement a little bit more as you’re thinking about recruiting and enrolling families? I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
One person said that they’ll like to try the apps they recommend. I’m so glad that, that was brought up because I think sometimes, in my experiences, the most challenging part is that fear of “I don’t know.” If you’ve ever been in a place where you don’t speak a language, or you may not understand the culture, it can be very intimidating for both parties.
One of my personal stories that I really take with me is that one time I was asked to assess a child who spoke Swahili. I don’t speak Swahili. The child was – you could tell, I was asking her questions originally in English and she was crying, and I just quickly went on my Google Translate app and I told her something. You could tell her relief was immediate. Then she started speaking to me long sentences in Swahili.
To me, what matters at that instance is that I was able to validate her and to know her experiences were super valid. I think some of that – using those apps really connects us to our humanity, and that humanity is what helps us have positive relationships with families that are going to then set the foundation for recruitment and retention for the long term.
I also wanted to highlight this idea that we do want to make families feel more accepted and represented in programs, both in their language and cultural backgrounds. I completely agree. This is really possible when we identify their values and traditions and what matters to them. Again, just really remembering that there’s great tools that we have in ECLKC that can help you guide. I think the fear of “I’m not quite sure what to do” gets taken away as you really think about this strategically, getting data from the community to then inform how you’re providing services to the families.
Then we’ll talk a little bit more about how do we retain families and how do we engage them in a positive way that centers them as valuable members of – I call them classroom or learning ecologies. One of my favorite things to do is really thinking about families’ funds of knowledge. A funds of knowledge is basically – we all carry funds of knowledge, first of all. What this means is the background knowledge, the culture, and the experiences that each family – or we can think about each child has.
When I think about my funds of knowledge – personally, I’m a big coffee drinker. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge about coffee, and I think I have a lot of knowledge about puppies right now because I have a baby puppy. If I were a preschool mom, and someone said, “Hey. We want to learn about coffee.” I would love to be able to share my funds of knowledge with children in early childhood.
Of course, funds of knowledge can vary so much across families. Examples of funds of knowledge may be some families are really great at farming, or some families might be wonderful at knowing how to fix cars or how to do construction – this idea that everyone has something that they’re experts in, that they can contribute to the classroom. The way that we can include families’ funds of knowledge into the children’s learning experiences is to share with families what are some of the topics that we’re going to be learning about, and are any of you interested in being our classroom expert?
Just to give you an example, I work very closely with an early childhood center that’s bilingual in Kansas City. We were reading a book. We were planning to read a book about piñatas. One family said, “We love making our own piñatas from scratch at home,” and I said, “That’s fantastic. I don’t know how to do that. Could you please lead that part?” What happened is that family, who always spoke Spanish, taught everybody else – both Spanish-speaking families and English-speaking families – how to make a piñata. They felt empowered – “I am an expert, and I can contribute.”
I think when you’re intentional, really communicating with families – what your plans are or maybe even asking them what are some of the topics that you think would be relevant and fun for children to learn – families usually want to be heard. They want to contribute. It’s really rewarding for everyone involved. I really, really encourage you all think about funds of knowledge. There’s another wonderful resource, like I promised, lots of great resources on ECLKC. There’s this great video on funds of knowledge that explains how we can explore cultural concepts specifically related to funds of knowledge.
Then I said funds of knowledge was my favorite, and that’s true. My second favorite is including families when adapting learning material. We want to encourage families, whenever possible, to bring relevant materials from home. Just to give you an example, again, at this early childhood center that I collaborate with, they read a book about hair. It was called “Bad Hair Does Not Exist.”
Then they extended the instruction of the book to then have, in the play area, to have the kids pretend to cut each other’s hair or to style each other’s hair. One of the things that we talked about is having families share from home the different hair products that they use, because we know that varies across culture. That was really a great way to, once again, make that bridge between the home and the school. I feel like families were super engaged and they were really receptive to participating.
We also want to choose materials and books that authentically represent children and families. For example, if we have a Chinese family that has Chinese-based calendar, as you see here, that’s a wonderful way to bring the culture and the language from the home into the classroom. We want to choose books that are culturally authentic, that are really centering families and children’s joy and resilience, and that – I call them insiders – the authors of the stories are people that belong to the community, telling stories about what it’s like being in that particular group.
We also see here in the word wall. This is something that was done in the center at early childhood in Kansas City that I work with. Notice how there’s letters here. These are the letters the teacher has been working on. Every week she sends a note of, “These are the letters that we’re working on. Please bring a material from home that represents that letter.” That’s a really great way to reinforce the early literacy skills while also incorporating children, for example.
We can also have children create their own books with family support. For example, the families can adapt a book, an existing book in English and create their own stories. They can audio record themselves. That way the child can listen to the book at school in their home language while also receiving the English language model.
It’s also important to think about not every family reads books. There’s different traditions. In some families, and cultures it’s really about oral storytelling. We want to make sure that we highlight that, too. If a family, for them, oral storytelling is really important, maybe they could video record or audio record themselves telling the story, and that can be something that then is shared in the classroom. I love that I’m getting shout-outs from Kansas City. It’s my home away from home. I acknowledge and I’m grateful to have people from all over the U.S., with a special shout-out to Kansas City.
Before I move on, I would love to hear some examples of how you’ve been able to think about families that are from different cultures. Could you tell me a little bit about how you could incorporate families’ funds of knowledge or adapt materials across languages?
Great. I’m hearing information that storytelling is one powerful tool that we can use, and we know how powerful storytelling is for language development and doing that in families’ home language. I think that’s great. We can also ask families about different holidays that they celebrate, or even acknowledging that, for example, a holiday that they celebrate in the U.S., like Thanksgiving, might look very different, depending on where you come from.
For example, I’m from Puerto Rico, and we do celebrate Thanksgiving, but the food looks different. We can also use songs and traditional songs. Again, just asking parents, like, “Hey, tell me about this. Tell me about that” and realizing that culture is very nuanced. It’s food, it’s music, it’s national holidays, but it’s also just the way that we engage. Maybe it’s about going to the park every Saturday. There’s so many different ways that culture plays out.
For people who are living now in the United States, there’s often this combination of their home cultures, but also what it’s like to be in the United States. It’s important to highlight that, again, thinking about “How can we support outreach into communities that might be newly immigrated families?”
Before I move on, I do want to highlight that important topic, because we do know that communities do change. There’s immigration patterns that change. If we work on, for example, if we really heavily focus on one language or community at the beginning, and really put a lot of resources, that doesn’t mean that 5 years and 10 years down the road, it’s going to be the same language and cultures represented. Let’s make sure that we’re constantly assessing what our community needs are so we can match our services for that as well.
Now as we think about different ways of engaging families with the goal of making sure that we retain them, let’s think about what is one way you’d like to engage families of children who are DLLs to support their retention in your program. Before I move on, I do want to give you enough time to access the QR code. This QR code is going to take you to the Jamboard. If you go through, you’ll see, on page two, you can add your response to the specific reflection question. Please feel welcome to share your thoughts on the Q&A as well, so we can highlight it to the rest of the group.
I already heard a lot about storytelling, which I think sometimes we forget, so thank you so much for highlighting that and bringing it to the surface. Can you all think about any other ways that we might be able to work on retaining families of children who are DLLs?
Perfect. One thing I do want to highlight again as we’re, I’m sure, from our virtual learning experiences, is that to use the Jamboard, you can access it in two different ways. One way to do that, if you’re accessing this presentation from your desktop, you could search “Jamboard,” and you’re going be able to find it. This is facilitated through Google docs, but you can also download the Jamboard app. I promise you, once you learn about Jamboard, you’re going to be like me – I want to use it for everything. It’s a great learning tool.
Then I really like – thank you so much to the person that brought this great point about retention, ensuring that families’ voices are heard. It’s just like getting them involved in a parent committee or Policy Council. I love this point. I’m trying to think about my experiences and my mom’s experiences as someone who came from a different place where things are new. I think sometimes it can be very intimidating to feel like your voice matters, specifically if you don’t speak English as fluidly. I think anytime that we create that space for families from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds to feel like … bring them to the table, to let them know that their experiences and their views of the world are extremely important and valid.
I think about, does the parent council really match the community. We don’t want our council to only be one sector of the community. We really want it to be inclusive in terms of culture, language, ability level – to really make sure that we are doing our best. I call it insiders and outsiders. Do we have the insider voices that can really strengthen our approach to families of children who are dual language learners? I agree.
We have this notion that when we show families that they are valuable and their voice matters, they’re going to be more likely to want to collaborate with you. They’re going to be more likely to want to see themselves as partners and empowered. My favorite stories are family members that have gone through the Head Start program, and they were so empowered that they themselves began working for Head Start. Maybe they became educators themselves or family and child development specialists.
I think that’s … We think about what is the dream and the mission of Head Start. It’s really about empowering the community and empowering families. Again, really making sure that we just don’t center English and that we don’t allow English to be a barrier for families that might speak different languages coming in.
Again, another great idea here is that we invite parents to be volunteers at the center so they can share their culture with children. Exactly. I really loved that point because it matches very nicely with this idea of funds of knowledge. We can have families come in and volunteer what they know as experts to then be able to support families and children.
Another great way of having families volunteer is to have them maybe lead small groups in the home language, or maybe read books to children, introduce them to songs or phrases. Again, because we know that we really want to empower them and make them feel, “Hey, you matter, and you are so important, and you’re only enriching us.” I think what’s great about that is that if one community member knows of the value of Head Start, they’re more likely to tell other people. Then you’re going to have that buy-in and that community support.
We’re going to keep going here. I’ve really enjoyed everything that we have talked about so far. I encourage you to think about “What are some other ways that I can learn?” Of course, if you know me, you know, I love talking about dual language learners. I can never have enough. Just to remember that, as we wrap up today’s presentation, I invite you to take a look at today’s wonderful resources from ECLKC. We’re also going to have a list of resources mentioned today on ECLKC that can also be found on the third page of the Jamboard.
We have the resources in multiple ways to remind you that, after today, you are always welcome to learn more, to try to incorporate some of these strategies and ideas into your personal programs so you can be as successful in both recruiting and retaining families of children that are dual language learners.
Before we move on, I would absolutely love to hear any thoughts that you have, questions, and ask you if you could please provide some of your questions on the Q&A. I would absolutely love to answer them here, now. For people that are watching a little bit later, please add your question to the Jamboard so we can have this conversation going. Now that we have talked a little bit about recruitment and enrollment and also retention, what is the one thing that you want to take with you as you move forward in working with families of children that are dual language learners?
Yes. “Finding cultural guides.” I love that idea. I think for me, too, once I learned about cultural guides, it helps me understand that that burden of “I have to speak every possible language, and I have to understand every culture” that’s a very impossible task, and it’s not a task for us to do. But it’s about using our knowledge to take families where they are, and then working with resources and individuals that can really help you understand.
In these contexts, I call them “cross-linguistic, cross-cultural relationships.” We are not the experts, but we can have that cultural humility that allows us to ask questions, that allows us to understand that there’s different ways of knowing –as we call it “different points of entry.” That we can empower each other if we just remain curious, if we ask these open-ended questions to help families be uplifted in our programs.
Again, it’s really important to continue identifying the interests of families and learning how to respond. I really like this idea of using this home language and cultural inventory, and knowing that information can change. Feel free to ask, to share those surveys a few times a year, or maybe you want to do it as we’re thinking about a specific theme. If we’re thinking about farm animals. What do you know about farm animals? Is there anything that you contribute around farm animals, as an example?
We really want to make sure, again, that we’re super intentional. I call it doing an inventory, doing an inventory of all your materials, doing an inventory of all your paperwork. Does it match the community? If it doesn’t, then create a plan so you’re able to meet those needs.
OK. It’s been a great honor today to join you. Muchas gracias. Thank you. Arigato. Merci. This is just an example of how rich we can be when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable language learners, and when we present ourselves as co-learners. That way we can really include everyone that is represented in the community and show that we’re all language learners. We’re all in this together, but we all value multilingualism and cultural diversity.
This is just a reminder for everyone that you can continue learning from today’s conversations in MyPeers. MyPeers is a community program for Head Start, like a social network program where educators can come together and gather around specific topics. One thing that I would really like to mention is that you can join us later. I invite you to do that for the practical application session if you would like to continue this conversation with colleagues across the country.
That’s one thing that I absolutely love about Head Start, that it’s a large network and that we’re all learning together. Please continue to learn, continue to stay brave, and continue to be intentional about recruiting and retaining families of children who are dual language learners. Thank you so much.Close
Explore strategies for recruiting families with children who are dual language learners (DLL) and discover resources to support your engagement with families.
- Describe what current research says about best practices for children who are DLLs.
- Explain effective strategies for recruiting families of children who are DLLs into Early Head Start and Head Start programs.
- Describe how families’ knowledge and home language can be incorporated into learning experiences, even when one does not speak their language(s).