Saturday, June 16, 2012

Welcoming new children

There is a young girl who is going to be coming to my four year old classroom, her name is Kumu and she lives with her Father, Mother and younger brother Akui.   The family had recently immigrated to the United States from Mumbai India.

In order to prepare myself to offer Kumu and her family a welcoming entrance into our school I first had them fill out our Family Culture Survey when they completed the enrollment paper.

Secondly, because I found out that Kumu and her mother were English language learners, I found  several words in Marathi and practiced how to say things like,  welcome, good morning, and other helpful phrases.  Because there are over 3000 languages in India, I asked the family specifically which language Kumu was most comfortable with.

I checked my classroom to make sure that there are dolls and other toys that reflect the Kumu’s culture and that there are things she is familiar with.

On the Family culture form I asked Kumu’s family what types of foods they enjoyed and if there were any foods they specifically chose not to eat.  The family told me that Kumu was very open to trying new foods, and that she enjoyed many spices such as curry.  I asked Kumu’s mother is she would like to come into the classroom and share a recipe with the class through a cooking project. She was a little hesitant but said that she would like to try and participate.

Finally, through my research into the parenting practices of families in Mumbai, I learned that for the most part parents and extended family member spend a great deal of time holding young children.  I asked Kumu’s mother if she had a specific toy or article such a blanket that would help her feel more comfortable in our class.  We decided that Kumu would like to bring a small photo of her family to keep in her cubby.

By incorporating Kumu’s home language and culture, I hope to make the center a welcoming place for both the child and the family.  Through open communication with the family, I let them know that I am open to learning about their practices and supporting them in Kumu’s education.


Julie Rand said...

What a nice job Stacie! You took this assignment a little further than I did. I talked about what I would have done if a child from another country entered my program. I acted it out! It really painted a picture of the positive effect it can have on a family. I could feel that your classroom was warm and welcoming! Nice job! Thank you for sharing!

Ginny said...

Thanks for sharing our ideas. I like the family culture survey. The only problem I see with it is if the family doesn't read English they won't be able to respond. I know some can be translated, but some can not. Even if translated I wouldn't be able to read the responses. It is a good idea and is worth sending to get a better idea about the families. If they respond and don't know English at least you would know and know they have access to a translator. I love the family photo idea. Several years ago I started taking pictures of my students and their families on the first day of school and I put them by their coat hooks. I realized that some of them only had the picture of the mother and maybe a brother or sister. I decided a couple of years ago to take them while at their home during their homevisit. The students love these and the parents seem to really treasure them. I send them home at the end of the year. I realize that this is one of few family photographs for many families.