Highlights of the Multicultural/ Bilingual Services: Support and advocacy to Non-English speaking parents, interpreting and translation services, lending educational material and comprehensive resources in Spanish .

The goal of the Bilingual Staff who works at UAMS Head Start/Early Head Start is to offer effective services to  Non-English speaking families and their children, as well as to support and guide the the agency in translating materials into Spanish, and to inform and educate staff on how to best meet the needs of our Spanish speaking families and help them to better understand families.

Early childhood education can play an essential role in preparing young English language learners (ELLs) for later success in school. Children who have an opportunity to develop basic foundational skills in language and literacy in preschool enter kindergarten ready to learn to read and write.

We understand that children require multiple exposures to words in order to develop a rich understanding of their meaning and use.  Our Teachers make a point of introducing interesting new words for children to learn into each classroom activity.

For group activities, we pair English language learners with children who have strong English language skills, and make sure that all the children who speak the same home language are not grouped together. This encourages conversation between both children. We have found that our English speaking children are beginning to speak both English and Spanish and the Spanish speaking children are speaking more English.

Our Head Start classrooms arrange the classroom in a way that supports each type of instructional activity that will take place, and then keep changes to the physical environment to a minimum. Once ELL children learn which activities take place in various parts of the classroom (e.g., centers, circle), the physical environment will cue them as to what they are to do and how they are to behave in that area. We explain to the parents during orientation that we follow a daily schedule, we keep it simple, refer to the schedule often and stay consistent so that children know what to expect next.

Predictable classroom routines can also provide scaffolding for English language learners by allowing them to anticipate what will happen each day, including the type of language they will need for each activity.

In our Head Start program we honor the diversity of Hispanic families. We work with the teaching staff and families to welcome their differing demographics and perspectives. We work with community organizations in the community – build relationships with faith based groups, youth and businesses to expand our network of support and opportunity.

When meeting with parents and setting goals, if we see the parent has not graduated from High School, we ask them if we can help to get them enrolled and begin classes. We offer to the parent, English classes that are in our community and offered to Hispanic families.

We have families fill out a cultural survey to help us know the individual family culture/needs. We provide all information in the family’s language. All parent meetings we have someone to attend to translate. Home Visits and Parent Conferences we have someone there to also translate what the teacher is saying. All materials are in Spanish and English and classroom is labeled with pictures and in Spanish /English.

We encourage the Hispanic parents to be a voice in our program planning, serve on Policy Council etc. We empower our parents as advocates for their children.

 

Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs

  1. Every individual is rooted in a culture.
  2. The cultural groups represented in the communities and families of each Head Start Program are the primary source for culturally relevant programming.
  3. Culturally relevant and diverse programming requires learning accurate information about the culture of different groups and discarding stereotypes.
  4. Addressing cultural relevance in making curriculum choices is a necessary, developmentally appropriate practice.
  5. Every individual has the right to maintain his or her own identity while acquiring the skills required to function in our diverse society.
  6. Effective programs for children with limited English speaking ability require continued development of the primary language while the acquisition of English is facilitated.
  7. Currently relevant programming requires staff who reflect the community and families served.
  8. Multicultural programming for children enables children to develop an awareness of, respect for, and appreciation of individual cultural differences. It is beneficial to all children.
  9. Culturally relevant and diverse programming examines and challenges institutional and personal biases.
  10. Culturally relevant and diverse programming and practices are incorporated in all components and service