by Karen Nemeth
10. Find out the languages you will have in your class and if you can’t find out for sure – make a good guess based on last year, languages in community etc.
9. Learn the correct pronunciation of each child’s name so the feel supported and respected on the first day of school.
8. Get some high quality bilingual books. Many early childhood catalogs now supply them.
7. Get bilingual apps or websites to supplement your collection such as analomba.com or icdlbooks.org.
6. Learn to say hello, welcome, eat, bathroom, drink, hurt, and ‘your mom will be home soon’ in the languages of your incoming students so you will be ready to make them feel safe and comfortable on their first day.
5. Look up local resources in case the family needs any support
4. Alert the public library that you may need their help so they can start looking for materials in the languages you expect to need. Even if they don’t have picture books in the right languages – Coffee table books, travel guides or cookbooks can help you set the stage in your classroom.
3. Contact your professional learning network of colleagues to see who has materials or ideas to share in the languages you need.
2. Get a digital camera or get permission to use your iphone to take photos in the first few days of school to reassure parents who don’t speak your language that their child is doing just fine.
1. Stock your classroom with nonverbal cues – picture schedule, props to go along with favorite stories, and signs/labels with picture cues as well.
And a super bonus that I just found today: NAEYC’s new webpage full of resources for Engaging Diverse Families!
I hope you get your school year off to a great start!