Like the diversity among children attending preschool programs, families are equally diverse. Families may differ in one or more of the following ways:
- Immigration, migration, and acculturation experiences
- Configuration of members
- Language dominance
- Values and goals
- Schooling experiences
- Expectations of teachers and schools
- Child rearing practices
Some families of young dual language learners have been in the United States for several generations, and others may have other children who have been part of the school system for several years; these families may be familiar with their roles as partners in their children’s education. However, other families may be unfamiliar with the school system and may have a differing understanding of the role of parents and teachers in the educational process.
Additionally, some families may be well informed about language development and the benefits of bilingualism. They may have defined goals for their children and may make educational decisions based on these goals. Other families may not have thought specifically about bilingualism prior to enrolling their children in preschool. Teachers and programs can help families understand the paths to bilingualism so they can make more informed decisions.
Regardless of these differences, all families have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that can serve as valuable resources in their child’s education. Therefore, teachers, programs, and communities are continually exploring ways to partner with families.
The California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 1 (CDE 2010, pp.188-223), provides specific suggestions for engaging families in their child’s English language development. Follow the links to the curriculum framework below to view ways to help families support their child’s learning: listening, speaking, reading,and writing
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