Culturally Diverse Families Dr. Connie Green Appalachian State University What is culture? …the roles we play, what we value, the ways we express ourselves, our goals for ourselves and our families, and our relationships with others. (Springate & Stegelin, 1999) Families, Children, and Culture Family culture is the core of our beliefs and interactions with others. Children develop among family, peer group, neighborhood & school. Teachers should consider how culture contributes to their interactions with children and families. Reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world. Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo Principles for working with culturally diverse families: Become informed about the cultures of the families with whom you work. Become culturally responsive toward family relationships and values. Principles for working with culturally diverse familes Honor the language and literacy backgrounds of families. Incorporate culturally diverse literature and experiences to help link home and school. Become informed about the families with whom you work. Examine your own attitudes and dispositions. Acquire knowledge of child rearing practices, gender roles, common beliefs, holidays, and traditions. Visit homes. Learn about verbal and non-verbal communication. Select appropriate multicultural books and materials. Honor language and literacy backgrounds of all cultures Show honest appreciation of language and speech patterns. Learn about home literacy experiences. Literacy Partnership Cycle Gather Information on Families Basic Family Survey Questions: 1. If recently arrived in the U. S., what is the family’s country of origin? 2. In what language do the adult family members prefer to read? 3. What activities does the family do together? 4. What types of reading materials do adult family members enjoy? 5. How comfortable are adults reading to their children? 6. What are their literacy goals for their children? Literacy Partnership Cycle Plan Literacy Strategies Select literacy objectives Collaborate with families in planning Develop strategies Literacy Partnership Cycle Implement Literacy Strategies Inform families Implement strategies Monitor success Literacy Partnership Cycle Evaluate Literacy Strategies Gather feedback from families Alter or retain strategies Celebrate success Plan new literacy strategies Considerations when parents are not able to read or write Communicate the importance of oral language Encourage families to share oral histories, folktales, and songs Model the use of wordless picture books for families to support imagination and language Encourage language play and dialogue Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy Level One: Parenting Families are the primary literacy environment for their children. Teachers can support families with basic child-rearing information and activities that are complementary with home literacy practices. Literacy Portraits Family Literacy Workshops Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy Level Two: Communication Teachers have an obligation to engage in both written and oral communication with families on a regular basis. On-going communication creates a continuing dialogue about literacy practices that flows between home and preschool settings. Newsletters & Calendars Literacy Brochures Traveling Friend Literacy Dialogue Journals Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy Level Three: Volunteering Working caregivers and those who stay at home need opportunities to participate in the literacy lives of their children at daycare and preschool. A variety of experiences and times for involvement will foster family contributions. Literacy Helpers Family Stories Family Albums Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy Level Four: Learning at Home Families vary in their perceptions about literacy, their home routines, and the ability to work with their children. Teachers need to suggest home literacy activities that are relevant to the children and families with whom they work. Home Visits Home Learning Activities Family Lending Library References Lily, E. & Green, C. (2004). Developing Partnerships with Families through Children’s Literature. Pearson. Ordonez-Jasis, R. & Ortiz, R. W. (2006). Reading their worlds: Working with diverse families to enhance children’s early literacy development. Young Children, 61 (1), 42-48.