As a preschool teacher, you work with children and families who share diverse experiences and backgrounds. Read each of the scenarios below, reflect on the child’s and family’s sense of self, and address how you would promote a positive sense of self. When you are finished, share your responses with your trainer, coach, or administrator.
Three-year-old Josie is new to your preschool program, and her home language is not English. She is having some difficulty falling asleep at naptime and following routines at circle time. Discuss what actions you might take to address these issues and promote Josie’s sense of self.
- Ask Josie’s parents to teach you one of Josie’s favorite lullabies in her home language.
- Use pictures with words in Josie’s home language for routines at circle time.
- Label shelves in both English and in Josie’s home language.
- Pair Josie with a “buddy” to help her learn various classroom routines.
- Gather ideas from Josie’s family about what soothes her at naptime.
- Invite Josie’s family to the classroom to share traditions, foods, etc. from their culture.
- Ask Josie and her family what she loves to do and have her “teach” her friends at circle (such as tap-dancing, ballet, building with Legos, etc.).
Denise is a single mom with a four-year-old, Darius, in your classroom. Denise has mentioned at drop-off and pick-up that she just can’t seem to keep up with all the demands of single parenting. She says that “she just can’t seem to get it right.” Reflect on what your response might be in support of this family’s sense of self.
- Ask Denise if the two of you can set up a time to meet and discuss possible resources that might be helpful.
- Offer positive feedback on something you see Denise doing “right.” Example: “When you drop Darius off, you always give him a big hug and a kiss. When he wants to show you his latest artwork or Lego creation, you always take the time to take a look and comment on his work.”
- Let Denise know that she is not alone; there are other single parents in your classroom. Would she like you to connect her with them?
Four-year-old Millie insists on having your help when eating at snack time and also at lunch time. Millie’s father is preparing to deploy, and her parents share that everyone in the family is feeling anxious. What steps can you take to support Millie and her family as well as promote their support of Millie’s sense of self? (If you have no experience with deployment, imagine a parent facing a similar challenge, such as frequent travel, incarceration, or long-term hospitalization or illness.)
- Offer to meet with Millie’s parents and share resources they might be interested in as they prepare for deployment.
- Talk with them to find out whether their family values independence or interdependence in terms of childrearing routines such as eating, sleeping, dressing, etc. Be respectful and honor this family’s beliefs and values.
- Offer to connect Millie’s parents with other parents who are facing deployment or who have been through a deployment.
- Invite Millie’s parents to visit the classroom and discuss the upcoming deployment at group time. Ask if Millie would also like to share at group time.
- Create family photo-books to be displayed in the classroom.
- Be consistent with predictable routines between home and school.
- Identify this family’s strengths in support of Millie’s sense of self.