By SONIA NUNEZ and SHARON VERNER CHAPPELL
This article shares the story of a partnership between a university campus preschool and an elementary education professor concentrating on multilingual family-based, funds of knowledge in schools. The preschool teacher integrated the theme, “Growing up Bilingual in Sunshine Room” throughout the classroom and home-learning activities. This project helped us as teachers understand the ongoing, active efforts we must make as advocates and activists to reframe the role of language and culture in our lives, and in the lives of our preschool-aged children. We learned the importance of reframing the value for language and culture in school spaces, and the ripple effect that such active, ongoing cultural recognition would have on families as learning partners in preschool.
Why We Teach
Building the connection between home and school is a very important component of the Sunshine Room preschool classroom. One way we learned about the many languages we spoke was through our family language board. We created simple boards for the vestibule and posted them above the children’s cubbies, posing questions like, “Do you know how to say friend in any other language” and “Do you know how to say hello in any other language?” As families entered Sunshine Room, they conversed about the question and recorded their responses. They asked questions, reflected on home life and taught their children about others in the classroom. One parent observed, “ Look someone knows how to say friend in Spanish just like us, just like grandma.” Continue reading