Developing Successful Family Partnerships across
Developing Successful Family Partnerships across
Developing Successful Family
Partnerships across Ethnically and
Linguistically Diverse EC Learning
Linda C. Halgunseth, Ph.D.
Office of Applied Research
a) Two-way dialogue
b) Team-oriented approach
c) Relationship between Educator/Caregiver
Not Parent Education
Parent Education is not a true partnership
Implies the professional has all the
Disregards the knowledge-base and
strengths of the family
Family Partnerships Help
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
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,
Language and Families
Cognitive & Social Benefits
innate capacity to learn and distinguish multiple
languages from birth13, 14
early dual exposure does not delay development in
greater brain tissue density (language, memory, and
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
Identity formation starts in early childhood4
Benefits of Family School Partnerships4
Dual Language program predicts positive child
Old way is not working15, 22
Incorporate cultural competence in EC standards
New Project; QRIS; NAEYC & A.L Mailman
Davida McDonald, Senior Public Policy Advisor, NAEYC
Require all EC staff to understand first and second language
Continue to monitor the growth and achievement of young
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
including cultures = enriches program; different does
not mean dysfunctional
Self-Reflection (own background, history,
stereotypes, values, customs, behaviors)
Include Family in Curriculum Development
surveys, questionnaires (What are your family’s goal for
your child; work together to achieve)
Invite Community Role Models and Volunteers
Build on Language Capacities of Child
Teaching Young Children (News From the Field,
Nursery Rhymes, Songs, Extended Vocabulary,
Early Literacy Skills22
“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
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examination of parent involvement and the social and academic competencies of urban
kindergarten children. Psychology in the Schools, 41(3), 363-377.
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evidence that family involvement promotes school success for every child of every age. Harvard
Family Research Project: Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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appropriate from a multicultural lens: A case study. 17th National Institute for Early Childhood
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Pianta, R. (2005). What is prekindergarten? Characteristics of public pre-kindergarten programs.
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Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company
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Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
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Spanish-speaking children’s social and language development in pre-kindergarten classrooms.
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& K. L. Snow (Eds.). School readiness & the transition to kindergarten in the era of
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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,
Linda C. Halgunseth, Ph.D.
Office of Applied Research (OAR)
National Association for the Education of
Young Children (NAEYC)
1313 L Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005