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Source: http://www.doksinet CHCFC506A: Foster children’s language and communication development Support the child’s skills in their own (nonEnglish) language as relevant Source: http://www.doksinet Contents Introduction 3 The importance of language in our lives 4 Identify the family’s language and use bilingual practices as relevant whilst supporting the child to maintain their first language both in the childcare and home environments 6 Supporting and maintaining home languages 6 Meeting the needs of children with English as a second language 7 Respond with respect to children’s language 9 Respect children’s use of their home language 9 Integrate materials in the child’s language into experiences 10 The inclusive environment 10 Encourage parents and family members to maintain their own language and participate in activities with the children 2 12 Developing partnerships with parents 12 Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

13 Encourage parents to inform worker of key words and phrases 15 Integrate child’s cultural experiences into language development opportunities 16 Language opportunities 17 Ideas for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences 18 What about celebrations? 20 Seek specialised assistance and use wherever required and available 21 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Introduction Within this learning topic the following abbreviations have been used. You will need to familiarise yourself with them as they are not only used in this written material but are widely used within the children’s services profession. ESL: English as a second language NESB: Non-English speaking background SUPS program: Supplementary Services program CALD: Culturally and linguistically diverse LOTE: Language other than English Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 3 Source:

http://www.doksinet The importance of language in our lives Language is a part of culture which is common to all human societies. What language do Australians speak? You may have said English, which is true, but many Australians speak other languages as wellthe languages of their cultural background. Along with a hundred or more imported languages such as Italian, Greek and Vietnamese, there are also over 200 Aboriginal languages still spoken today. Some are spoken by small groups of 20–30 people, while others are spoken by thousands of people. We often dont think about the language we speak because it is so much part of us, especially if we belong to a group which speaks the same language as we do. How important is language in our lives? Here are a few ideas for you to think about. • • • • • • 4 Language is the tool for creative thought: it helps us to formulate ideas and concepts and to organise our thoughts. For example, it is not necessary for a dragon to exist

for people to know what a dragon is. With language we can explain, describe and even ask more questions about dragons. Through language we add to our knowledge and understanding of dragons. We can express ideas particular to a profession or group. For example, workers in the early childhood field use language about programs and child development and many other aspects of their profession. Such terminology is readily understood by all members of the profession. We can share our thoughts, our feelings and information with other people. Language can give us a sense of belonging and identity (eg to a race, a family, a group). Families often have certain words or phrases which are used by family members and passed on to succeeding generations. Children in middle childhood, especially those in the upper primary years, sometimes create and use secret languages of their own so that they can be part of a special group not understood by others. Through words we are able to pass on our culture to

our children, not just by what we say but in the way we say it. We tell stories about ourselves and our past and, through language, we get to know ourselves and our place in history. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet • Language can be used to learn to understand others, or it can act as a barrier if we dont speak the same language or speak differently within the same language. Many children worldwide are exposed to two or sometimes more languages. This is usually because their parents speak more than one language or because a child and their family move to another country. When children from NESBs come into centres whereby the prominent language spoken is English, it is our duty to provide them with a program of inclusion and diversity, displaying both respect and recognition of their home language and culture, while also exposing them to the English language and culture. For many of you who have had very

limited experience, if any, in children’s services, supporting a child’s non English language may seem rather intimidating. Don’t worry, it is not nearly as difficult as it may initially seem and after some experience you will become more comfortable with the concept of inclusion and see it as essential in your everyday planning and programming. As well, you will see culture and difference as valuable learning areas. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 5 Source: http://www.doksinet Identify the family’s language and use bilingual practices as relevant whilst supporting the child to maintain their first language both in the childcare and home environments Supporting and maintaining home languages In 1987 when the National Policy on Languages was published by the Australian Government, the recognition and encouragement of LOTE increased dramatically. Subsequently, the need for children to be supported to maintain their home language was

more widely recognised. Bilingualism will be promoted as a positive value to individuals and society. It will be advocated that children who are potentially bilingual ought to be assisted to develop this potential. (Lo Bianco, 1987, in Maken et al, 1995. p 59) Encourage bilingualism. Note the use of Chinese written language on the corner of the table Activity 1 6 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Meeting the needs of children with English as a second language The languages which children bring to the centre should be maintained and developed. Bilingual families and bilingual staff working with monolingual families and staff can, together, ensure that the languages that children bring to the centre are not lost. Bilingual children have specific language needs and individual approaches to learning languages. • • • Children initially develop ‘survival’ language, where they can interact with their peers,

join in group experiences and demonstrate social confidence and competence. However, language learning is an ongoing process and we should not overestimate what children understand. Learn and use key words and phrases and simple songs and rhymes in the child’s home language. Expect single words at first. Ensure that the child is actively involved in experiences with English-speaking children. Ensure the child does not become socially isolated Positively acknowledge all attempts at using English made by the child. Emphasise words and labels when speaking and use non-verbal cues like touching and pointing when communicating with the child to help with understanding. Expect some delay in language development as well as language mixing and silent periods. Finally, demonstrate respect and collaboration with families. Being multilingual or bilingual is beneficial for all children. In order for children to be bilingual, they need the home language to be continually supported and developed.

If the home language is well supported in the home and in the care setting, learning the second language is facilitated more readily. Go to the NSW Curriculum Framework at http://community.nswgovau and refresh your understanding on p 58–59. Use of home or culturally relevant resources during language experiences It is essential that the environment of the children’s service reflects the families and children using it. Earlier, we briefly discussed the use of posters, photos, books, etc, depicting cultural differences and fostering an inclusive environment. A program of true diversity and inclusion incorporates resources of many cultures, not just those of the service community. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 7 Source: http://www.doksinet Activity 2 A fine example of depicting other cultures 8 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Respond with respect to children’s

language Respect children’s use of their home language Children’s attempts to speak, whether in English or their home language, can often be seen as funny in the eyes of the child not experiencing learning a new language. Many children who have not been exposed to difference often unfortunately see difference as amusing. Along with this, we as adults are often intrigued and enchanted by the sound of other languages and the accents they bring to the English language. You must take care not to shame or embarrass young or old bilingual learners. Any level of bias demonstrated by other children needs to be challenged immediately, prior to any prejudice forming at such an early, vulnerable and impressionable age. Strategies which show respect: • • • • Both staff and children can learn simple words and phrases frequently used at home. Learn simple songs and rhymes in the particular language. Provide opportunities for the child, or members of their family, to come in and speak

their home language with the children, thereby encouraging interest. It is vital that the child’s name is pronounced correctly, with correct intonations, etc, rather than simply how it looks in writing. This demonstrates respect for the child and their culture. Correct pronunciation can prove to be difficult for some, particularly if you have had limited experience with other languages. Self-consciousness can suddenly appear! Some languages have such different articulation sounds that it can seem virtually impossible to say the word, or name, in the same way that a fluent speaker does. A sense of humour is an asset, along with empathy If you are having such difficulty with specific sounds, chances are so are those learning the English language! Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 9 Source: http://www.doksinet Integrate materials in the child’s language into experiences The inclusive environment When we think of the environment, we often

think immediately of the physical aspectsthe things we can seeas well as the need for stereotypical materials to be removed. In the physical sense, an inclusive environment includes things depicting the different cultures of the children attending the service, such as: • • • • • • • posters books charts dolls of different nationalities materials creative mediums photos. Creating an inclusive environment involves not only addressing the physical aspect of the room, but also fostering social harmony for families, parents, children and staff members, portraying a trusting environment and encouraging discussion of concerns and questions (as well as general interest matters), without the feeling of judgment or discrimination. Notice board with different languages displayed Respecting and appreciating differences in all of us, not only in those with a more distinctive difference, will best achieve social harmony. We also need to remember to see the similarities, ie all

children and families have similar needs which need to be met accordingly. Implementing a ‘hidden curriculum of diversity’ is also essential to the environment, where the environment reflects diversity not only when children from NESBs are attending the service but at all times. Diversity needs to be 10 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet incorporated into the program continually so children are aware of a wide variety of cultural differences from the start, rather than just when a child with a significant difference enters the room. Note: Addressing cultural differences primarily by way of ‘cultural days’ is an outdated approach and is now considered an inappropriate strategy for adding diversity into a program. The exception to this is where important festivals and holidays significant to children, families and others in the community of the service (which take place on specific days/dates) are celebrated.

If cultural items are only displayed as a one-off event, they are often seen as a novelty and subsequently easily forgotten. Display written language Just as it is important for children to see and use the written form of English, so it is important for children to see and use written forms of languages other than English and particularly their or their peers’ home language. Now would be a good time for you to start forming a resource collection of materials containing written forms of languages other than English, for example number charts, alphabet charts, welcome posters, simple books, newspapers, comics, etc. Remember, other languages include Braille and sign language When producing displays, posters, captions on photos etc put text in the languages used by the families in your service.It is important to ensure that all text materials displayed in your service do actually serve a purpose and are not merely contributing to a confusing mass of written material, sometimes referred

to as visual noise! Inclusive environments also include giving children opportunities to hear, use and see various languages, including Braille, sign and spoken languages the same and different to their own. Dependent on age groups, activities can be provided for children which highlight the differences and difficulties children from NESBs can experience. Invite people from different cultures to tell stories from their culture Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 11 Source: http://www.doksinet Encourage parents and family members to maintain their own language and participate in activities with the children Developing partnerships with parents Developing partnerships with the parents of children in your care is essential regardless of what, or how many, languages the parents speak. However, there are a number of additional strategies which need to be put in place to build positive and supportive relationships or partnerships with parents

speaking a language other than English. These unique parent–carer partnerships need to focus on: • • supporting and respecting the home language of the child ensuring both the parents and the children develop a sense of belonging within the service. Strategies to build positive partnerships with parents Keep parents informed of what is happening in the centre by: • • • • • • • 12 having consistent and regular conversation, and using a support person as a translator if necessary using communication books for support people or family members to translate using their home language wherever possible. Find out about the child’s home environment by: encouraging photos to be brought to the centre talking with the parents about specific routines at home talking with parents about any changes the child is dealing with due to their recent move (if appropriate) Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet •

finding out about any special occasions which take place in the home (specifically cultural events which may then be shared at the centre and utilised as a learning experience for others). Invite parents to actively participate in the centre’s program by: • • • encouraging them to share experiences from their culture, eg games, celebrations, musical instruments, stories, art mediums asking them to bring in things unique to the culture. having the parents contribute to notices and charts in the centre to be in both languages. Maintaining partnerships with parents Maintaining positive partnerships is equally as vital as initially building them. So often we unconsciously let partnerships slip once we have developed them. As with all relationships and partnerships, it takes a concerted effort to maintain them, and partnerships with parents are no different, and in fact require ongoing additional attention. Maintaining partnerships with parents means we need to continue to carry

out the strategies listed above. We need to show genuine interest in the parents, the family, the children, their culture and the differences and similarities, continually and consistently. This ensures our partnerships continue to develop and are seen as an asset for all involved. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families Strategies: • • • • • • Work cooperatively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, extended family and the local community. Involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the decision making and the planning of the learning environment. Invite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in the learning environment through demonstration of their skills and knowledge. Incorporate appropriate Aboriginal perspectives and Aboriginal Studies experiences in the program, taking into consideration the target audience. Seek to have Aboriginal membership on management committees. Accept the use of

Aboriginal English in the children’s service by both children and adults. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 13 Source: http://www.doksinet • • • • • • 14 Understand the bicultural and the bilingual needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the importance of self-esteem to success in learning. Demonstrate respect for all other peoples and their cultures. Avoid stereotyping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Accept that some Aboriginal child-rearing practices are different to other child-rearing practices. Encourage all children and families to develop awareness, understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal heritage and cultures. Provide culturally appropriate transition programs from home to school. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Encourage parents to inform worker of key words and phrases Just as it is important to any child

that we are familiar with their keywords of meaning, especially is it the case with a child who is new to English. Keywords not only assist communication but also can give the child a sense of security, acceptance and familiarity. Ask parents to tell you their child’s keywords of meaning as well as teach you the correct pronunciation. You may also be able to learn words that are constantly used in childcare such as: • • • • • • • toilet food play yes/no thankyou mum/dad home Value, respect and utilise the parents as a language resource by asking parents to teach you and the other children basic words, phrases, songs, games, etc in their home language, in particular songs such as ‘Happy Birthday’. Activity 3 Children learning an Aboriginal word Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 15 Source: http://www.doksinet Integrate child’s cultural experiences into language development opportunities An effective way to start the

process of finding out about a child’s and family’s cultural experiences is to ask the families in your service to bring in a photo (or drawing) of who lives with their child. Talk about differences and similarities in who lives together as a family. Read children stories about families that include the cultural mix in your service. Do lots of questioning. Introduce persona dolls. Each doll’s family background can be different and an interesting way to introduce children to the diversity of families. Think about introducing topics such as cooking, sharing objects, artefacts and ceremonial life, how families speak and how family members work. Similarities and differences can be highlighted in each of these areas. Have families come in and share significant cultural experiences with the other children in centre. But avoid having ‘cultural days’ as this is tokenistic. Alternatively diversity and cultural variety should be an everyday part of the program. Suggested strategies for

the children’s program: The program: • • • • • 16 Will reflect appropriate diverse experiences. Will support each child’s uniqueness, the staff recognising that each child has something different to contribute to the centre from their home environment. Will provide opportunities for the children to explore other languages through songs, labelling, posters, books, etc. Will provide children with a diverse range of multicultural materials, e.g Books, dolls, games, clothes, food, songs, music, and instruments. Support children’s first and second languages. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Language opportunities Dramatic play • • Use a variety of foods, eating utensils and dress ups, which reflect a range of cultures. Have multi-ethnic dolls. Book/quiet area • • • • • Use large floor pillows and cushions in ethnic prints in this corner. Display books that emphasise diversity,

ethnicity, different lifestyles and co-operation. Include alphabet and counting books from other cultures and languages. Have the children make books about themselves and their families. Include some stories that are written in two languages. Visual displays • • • • • • • • • • Emphasize real life – use artwork and artefacts from existing cultures. To do this you could use: Photographs and magazine pictures. Postcards and greeting cards. Take your own photos of the children, families and people in the service community. Some great places where you can pick up some resources that are inclusive include: second hand shops; galleries; Asian shops, etc. Making your own resources using different languages. You can make your own: picture collection card and matching games books stories. As mentioned, before Persona dolls are useful tools for creating stories based on individual family background or particular additional needs of children. Persona dolls are dolls that

are used for a special story telling technique that helps children deal with issues such as conflict and diversity. For more information on Persona Dolls see Jones, K, and Mules, R, 1997, Persona dolls: Anti-bias in action Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Erskineville, NSW. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 17 Source: http://www.doksinet Ideas for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences • • • • • Display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander posters. Initiate excursions to sites and other places with cultural significance. Play songs from Aunty Wendy’s Mob, or ‘Songs for Aboriginal Studies & Reconciliation by Buck McKenzie or other appropriate children’s music CD There may be Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people willing to come in for storytelling. Use Aboriginal symbols in painting and drawing activities or to tell a story Common symbols of Western Desert painting 18 Diploma of Children’s

Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet Case StudyImplementing an Indigenous Program in a Childcare setting Implementing an Indigenous Program in a Childcare setting Written by Gisella Wilson for CHILDCARE AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH Jenny King is a Koorie Preschool Assistant who provides an Indigenous Language and Cultural Program in centres in the Wellington and East Gippsland Shires in Victoria. The program is for all children, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous and the experiences provided in the program can be used in any care setting, even if there are no Indigenous children. The program draws on the knowledge of local Indigenous people and helps children (and their families) appreciate Indigenous culture and significant sites in the local environment. Respect for and involvement of local Indigenous people are strong elements of the program. The language belongs to the Gunai/Kurnai* people who live in the area. Jenny has had to gain

permission from the Elders to teach the language in the different centres that she visits. At Lakes Entrance they have a local Indigenous language/art teacher who delivers the language to the children each and every week. Over the year, the children learn greetings, animal names, sea creatures, kinship terms, body parts, colours and counting, as well as a few songs. The Gunai Language Program has an interactive CD Rom produced specifically for and relevant to the Gunai/Kurnai people of Gippsland. It is delivered on the centre’s computer and includes spoken word and listening activities, stories in language and memory games. The Lakes Entrance centre is very fortunate in having ongoing support from a local elder, Uncle Max Soloman. Uncle Max visits the centre on a regular basis He comes to share his knowledge and culture by telling Aboriginal stories, showing the children his wood burning skills and he also carves animals out of wood. In the winter he comes and cooks Johnny cakes

(like damper) on the camp fire in the playground. Uncle Max is a living treasure to everyone who meets him and the children adopt him like a grandfather. His involvement in the centre plays a big part in keeping Aboriginal children and their families attending regularly and bridges relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the community. The year’s cultural program culminated in an excursion to The Knob Reserve. This is anextremely significant place for Gunai/Kurnai people. It was the meeting place for the 5 tribal groups for corroborees, marriages, initiation and trading of goods. Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 19 Source: http://www.doksinet The children, parents and staff were met by the Young Spirit Dance group who welcomed everyone with traditional Gunai dancers. Uncle Max took them on a cultural walk through the bush to look at scar trees, grinding grooves, traditional bush foods and ochre rocks by the river.

After lunch they participated in painting and throwing boomerangs and traditional Koorie games. This excursion was a “hands, ears and eyes on” approach to providing an insight into another culture which mirrors the teaching methods employed by Aboriginal people. Following the excursion parents and carers were surveyed about their responses to the day and their attitudes to the Language and Cultural Program. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. All parents agreed that the experiences had been beneficial to their child. Parents and carers spoke of their appreciation for the Program and what it has taught them and the children. *Gunai and Kurnai are different ways of spelling the name of the clan groups of the Gippsland area in Victoria. CHILDCARE AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH VOL 11 NO 1 FEBRUARY 2008 www.ecconnectionscomau Used by permission What about celebrations? Can celebrations be appropriately integrated into our programs as a means of integrating a child’s cultural

experiences? The answer is not clear-cut. If you talk to early childhood practitioners about celebrations you will probably find that there are varying degrees of support for the inclusion of celebrations in early childhood programs. Whatever their views are on celebrations in early childhood programs, most practitioners would probably agree that we need to be responsive to the very sensitive issues that surround this issue. Why are some services so reluctant to celebrate festivals and holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and Anzac Day etc? To begin with, we are at risk of developing a tourist approach if we put a great deal of effort into an annual celebration (say the Chinese New Year) then fail to acknowledge the existence of Chinese culture for the rest of the year. There is also the chance that we might trivialise the celebration if we celebrate without any depth of understanding of the culture. However, this may be overcome to some extent, by involving parents

from that particular cultural background. We also need to be aware that for some families there are celebrations that they do not wish their children to participate in, e.g Christmas On the other hand, if planned thoughtfully and in the context of the overall program, celebrations may be a positive way to integrate experiences from the child’s culture. Celebrations are a way of bringing families together and may enhance children’s appreciation of other cultures. However, it is necessary to avoid the tourist approach with celebrations in early childhood services. In other 20 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC506A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 Source: http://www.doksinet words, a celebration should naturally emerge from a program that has represented that culture in many ways on a day-to-day basis. There is no easy answer to the celebration dilemma. It is something that each individual service will need to work out in consultation with the community, families and staff.

Seek specialised assistance and use wherever required and available The Commonwealth government funds agencies, Australia wide, providing support to children’s service workers requiring assistance in providing an inclusive program and environment for children and families from NESBs. Support agencies that you may be able to access are: • • • • • interpreter services multi-cultural resource centres multi-cultural libraries community language groups Aboriginal elders. Activity 4 Diploma of Children’s Services: CHCFC502A: Reader LO 9317 NSW DET 2010 21