Engaging facts: partnering with multilingual families
Palabras clave:Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Family Partnership, Family Engagement, Emergent Bilingual, Multilingual Learners, English Learner, Parent and Child Together Time, PACT Time, Early Childhood
With pressing emphasis on the quality of early childhood preschool programs for children birth to age five, one quality assurance is for educators and family members to work together to foster the young child’s rapid development. Through reciprocal partnerships between educators and families, family members are empowered to continue with their contributions to their child’s education after they enter school. Through a U.S. Department of Education grant, pre-kindergarten and pre-service teachers took part in a Summer Institute Program focused on providing professional development on working effectively with multilingual children and their families. This study explored pre-kindergarten and pre-service teachers’ perceptions and experiences of implementing family engagement activities during the Summer Institute Program. The qualitative findings reported in this multiple case study were extracted from a larger mixed methods study of effectiveness of the overall professional development provided during the Summer Institute Program. During the program, family engagement opportunities included, though were not limited to, Parent and Child Together Time, family visits, and family engagement workshops. Findings for this study suggested that before the Summer Institute Program, teacher participants did not feel adequately prepared to work with families of multilingual students. Though several participants had previously implemented isolated parent involvement activities, few had authentically collaborated to form reciprocal partnerships with families, particularly those of multilingual students. Participants overcame initial and perceived challenges to partner with multilingual families through family engagement opportunities such as Parent and Child Together Time, which is the focus of this study. Furthermore, participants felt more comfortable in working with families of multilingual students after having participated in professional development on effective family engagement.
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