Embracing Parents and Families as an Asset

With the new school year now in full swing, continuing to build a community that fosters a sense of belonging is so valuable. There are lots of great ways to tackle this goal throughout the year, but one of the best ways can be through including the unique backgrounds of your students’ parents and families. When you intentionally invite their parents and families into the classroom to share things like heritage food, clothing, language, and culture, your little learners experience a very rich sense of belonging. In addition, their classmates learn to embrace diversity in all of its forms. In today’s article we will discuss the importance of using parent and family background as an asset and the benefits that come along with it.

Sharing food is a universal way to bring people together, and it can be an excellent avenue to celebrate different cultures. Invite parents to bring in dishes from their country of origin and share them with your students. This can be an opportunity for students to try new foods and to learn about backgrounds other than their own. This experience could impact student learning in a number of positive ways and could easily lead to activities like creating simple Venn diagrams and graphs when discussing different ingredients used in certain dishes or creating class cookbooks with recipes from each child’s home!

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Let's Go on a Field Trip!

Field trips are integral to education, and they can be especially meaningful for English language learners! Visiting a new place and learning in an immersive environment can be a great way to learn and practice English. Check out a few meaningful tips to make field trips meaningful for English language learner students:

It’s important to do research beforehand – both about the destination of the trip, as well as any potential challenges you may face with your students. Having this information ahead of time can help you prepare more adequately for the trip and ensure that everyone has a safe and successful experience.

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The Value of Chatter in the Preschool Classroom

Have you ever been to a preschool classroom and heard nothing but the sound of crickets? If so, you probably left feeling like something was missing. That something is chatter—the sweet sound of little voices discussing their ideas and exploring the world around them. Chatter can be just as important for learning as books, pencils, and puzzles. Let’s take a look at why preschoolers need opportunities to engage in oral language.

Oral language is the foundation for learning. It helps little ones learn how to communicate with others, think critically, and understand new concepts. Through conversations with adults and peers, preschoolers have the opportunity to practice using new words while also expanding their knowledge base. They can learn about topics that interest them while also developing their ability to express themselves through speaking and listening.

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GrapeSEED Teacher Testimonial

I love this quote from writer, speaker, and coach Todd Stocker: “I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.” It’s true that in educators’ worlds today, everyone is busier than ever! Even when we aren’t in the classroom, at a staff meeting, or out in the community, we’re still always ‘on.’ That’s why we were thrilled when twenty-two-year veteran ELL teacher, Brooke Mindnich, from Eatontown, NJ made time to share about her experience with the GrapeSEED curriculum.

Take a look:

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Providing the Best for Our Youngest Newcomers

If you’re like most folks, when you hear the word ‘newcomer’ you likely envision an adult person bravely setting out to build a new life in a new place. Most of us realize the that inevitable challenges will come with acclimating to a foreign country, to surprising new social norms, to a foreign language and everything that beginning life in a new place might entail.

Some of us, though, may forget to consider what being a ‘newcomer’ might feel like to a young child.  If we haven’t had that experience ourselves, we likely can’t even imagine what it may encompass.  

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