Developing Successful Family
Partnerships across Ethnically and
Linguistically Diverse EC Learning
Communities
Linda C. Halgunseth, Ph.D.
Office of Applied Research
Family Partnerships

Components
a) Two-way dialogue
b) Team-oriented approach
c) Relationship between Educator/Caregiver
and Family
Not Parent Education

Parent Education is not a true partnership

Implies the professional has all the
answers

Disregards the knowledge-base and
strengths of the family
Family Partnerships Help
Children Succeed!

Higher preschool performance and
promotion to next grade 1, 2

More positive engagements with peers,
adults, and learning3

Buffers negative impact of poverty on
academic and behavioral outcomes4

Benefits persist over time4
Demographic Shifts
and EC Educators

44.9% of children ages 0-4 are of color5

More than 16% of children in preschool
programs speak languages other than
English at home (50% in some parts of
the country)6, 7

Many EC teachers do not feel they were
properly prepared to work with culturally
and linguistically diverse families8
Culture and Family

Cultural Values9, 10

Values Motivate Family Behavior9, 10, 11

Diversity exists within each Cultural and
Ethnic Group (“No somos iguales;” Stress
vs. Cultural Values; financial strain,
Hierarchy)10, 12
Language and Families

Infant-toddlers



Cognitive & Social Benefits




innate capacity to learn and distinguish multiple
languages from birth13, 14
early dual exposure does not delay development in
either language14
greater brain tissue density (language, memory, and
attention)16
more neural activity17
stronger social skills, teacher-child relationships, and
less likely to be bullied by peers18
Long Term Benefits19, 20, 21
Why Change Practices and Policies?

Demographic shifts will continue

2050 predictions; ethnic-minorities will become the
majority group22

Identity formation starts in early childhood4

Benefits of Family School Partnerships4

Dual Language program predicts positive child
outcomes15

Old way is not working15, 22
Policy Recommendations

Incorporate cultural competence in EC standards


New Project; QRIS; NAEYC & A.L Mailman
Davida McDonald, Senior Public Policy Advisor, NAEYC
23

Require all EC staff to understand first and second language
development

Continue to monitor the growth and achievement of young
ELL children

Require cross-cultural or inter-cultural competent staff

Recruit and retain additional EC staff at all levels who are
representative of the cultural and linguistic background of
the children in your program
Practice Recommendations

STRENGTH-BASED APPROACH***

including cultures = enriches program; different does
not mean dysfunctional

Self-Reflection (own background, history,
stereotypes, values, customs, behaviors)

Open Communication

Include Family in Curriculum Development

surveys, questionnaires (What are your family’s goal for
your child; work together to achieve)
Practice Recommendations
2

Invite Community Role Models and Volunteers

Build on Language Capacities of Child

Phonetics

Teaching Young Children (News From the Field,
Handout)24

Nursery Rhymes, Songs, Extended Vocabulary,
Early Literacy Skills22

Nonverbal Communication
Thank you!
“If the culture of the teacher is to become
part of the consciousness of the child,
then the culture of the child must be first
in the consciousness of the teacher.”
Bernstein, 1972, p. 142
Footnotes
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Izzo. C. V., Weissberg, R. P., Kasprow, W. J., & Fendrich, M. (1999). A longitudinal assessment of
teacher perceptions of parent involvement in children’s education and school performance,
American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(6), 817-839.
Mantizicopoulos, P. (2003). Flunking kindergarten after Head Start: An inquiry into the
contribution of contextual and individual variables. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2),
268-278.
McWayne, C., Hampton, V., Fantuzzo., J. Cohen, H. L., & Sekino, Y. (2004). A multivariate
examination of parent involvement and the social and academic competencies of urban
kindergarten children. Psychology in the Schools, 41(3), 363-377.
Harvard Family Research Project. (2006, Spring). Family involvement makes a difference:
evidence that family involvement promotes school success for every child of every age. Harvard
Family Research Project: Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Bruner, C. (2008, June). Developing early learning standards that are developmentally
appropriate from a multicultural lens: A case study. 17th National Institute for Early Childhood
Professional Development.
Clifford, R. M., Barbarin, O., Chang, F., Early, D. M., Bryant, D., Howes, C., Burchinal, M., &
Pianta, R. (2005). What is prekindergarten? Characteristics of public pre-kindergarten programs.
Applied Developmental Science, 9(3), 126-143.
Olsen, L. Ensuring academic success for English learners. UC Linguistic Minority Research
Institute, Newsletter v15, (4), Summer 2006.
Ray, A. (2008, June). The critical challenge in teacher preparation: Developing early childhood
practitioners who can effectively educate ‘diverse children. Research Symposium: 17th National
Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development.
Lynch, E. W., & Hanson, M. J. (1992). Developing cross-cultural competence. Baltimore, MD: Paul
H. Brooks
Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J., & Rudy, D. (2006). Parental control in Latino families: An integrated
review of the literature. Child Development, 77(5), 1282-1297.
Halgunseth, L., Cushinberry, C., & Bordere, T. (2003). Race, Ethnicity, and Parenting Styles.
Points & Counterpoints: Controversial relationship and family issues in the 21st century. Los
Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company
Rokeach, M. (1979). Understanding Human Values. New York: Free Press.
Footnotes
2
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Kuhl, P. K. Early language acquisition: Cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience,
5(11), (2004), 931-843.
Genesee, R., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. B. (2004). Dual Language Development and Disorders: A
Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
Espinosa, L. M. (2008). Challenging Common Myths about Young English Language Learners.
FCD Policy Brief, Advancing PK-3, No. 8, January. New York: Foundation for Child Development.
Mechelli, A., Crinion, J. T., Noppeney, U., O’Doherty, J., Ashburner, J., Frackowiak, R., & Price, C.
J. (2004). Structural Plasticity in the Bilingual Brain, Nature, Vol. 431 (2004), 757.
Kovelman, I., Bakers, S., Petitto, L.A., Bilingual and Monolingual Brains Compared: An fMRI
Study of a ‘Neurological Signature’ of Bilingualism. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the
Society for Neuroscience, Atlanta, GA. October, 2006.
Chang, F., Crawford, G., Early, D., Bryant, D., Howes, C., Burchinal, M., & Pianta, R. (2005).
Spanish-speaking children’s social and language development in pre-kindergarten classrooms.
Early Education and Development, 18(2): 243-269.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., & Ryan, J. (2006). Executive Control in a Modified Antisaccade Task:
Effects of Aging and Bilingualism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and
Cognition, 323(6), 1341-1354.
Bialystok, E. (2001). Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition.
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Campos, S. J. (1995). The Carpenteria preschool program: A long-term effects study. In E. E.
Garcia & B. McLaughlin (Eds.), Meeting the challenge of linguistic and cultural diversity in early
childhood education (pp. 34-48). New York: Teachers College Press
Espinosa, L. M. (2007). English-language learners as they enter school. In R. C. Pianta, M.J. Cox,
& K. L. Snow (Eds.). School readiness & the transition to kindergarten in the era of
accountability. Baltimore: Paul. H. Brookes.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has received a
planning grant from the A.L. Mailman Foundation to determine the feasibility of
developing criteria, as well as a tool, to measure the level of cultural competence in
quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). Contact Davida McDonald, Senior
Public Policy Advisor (NAEYC), for more information: [email protected]
For more information about Teaching Young Children, contact Derry Koralek, Editor,
[email protected]
Linda C. Halgunseth, Ph.D.
Research Coordinator
Office of Applied Research (OAR)
National Association for the Education of
Young Children (NAEYC)
1313 L Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 350-8859
[email protected]
www.naeyc.org
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Developing Successful Family Partnerships across