Thursday, January 10, 2013

Arabic Language Drop-in and ELECT

Written by Faiza Bassiseau, Pinecrest Queensway CHC

As a Family Resource Facilitator in the Circle of Support program at Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, I run an Arabic language playgroup for Arabic speaking parents and their children.  The principles of ELECT are discussed with families in their first language to give them a deeper understanding. The principles are then linked to the continuum of development to provide high quality and culturally sensitive programming.

The principles that stand out for my group are:
·        ELECT principle # 3: “Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion are prerequisites for honoring children’s rights, optimal development and learning”; and
·        ELECT principle #2: “Partnerships with families and communities strengthen the ability of early childhood settings to meet the needs of young children.

Following these principles, these are some of the ways that I integrate the concepts of respect for diversity and partnerships:

v At circle time we sing English songs in Arabic using the same rhyme and tune. This allows the families to maintain their language but it also is a path towards integration into the mainstream in that they can identify with the tunes of common children’s songs.

v Much needed support and direction for play based learning is provided in Arabic using the ELECT framework and “language/terminology” (e.g. continuum of development).

v I encourage families to use their home language when interacting with their children and to play with their children to meet their needs.

v Our centre has a “bragging tree” where parents are encouraged to make observations of their children and to post them. Parents in all groups (Arabic and non-Arabic) are encouraged to post in their language.  English translations are made later.  The children are told that the translations are there so that families in other programs can see and share what is happening in the Arabic group and vice versa.  The intention is for the children to gain an understanding that there are other groups and we can all connect together in one activity.  This helps in educating children about respect for diversity, equity and inclusion.

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