Communication With Home
Suggestions for a Parent Welcome and Information Evening/Afternoon
One very good way to support new parents in helping them to understand our school system is to have a "Tea and Talk". This is a gathering usually organized by the SWIS worker, the ESL teacher, and administration. Parents are invited to have tea and translation/interpretation is provided by the SWIS for those needing it. Questions about the BC curriculum, literacy, report cards, helping your child when you don't speak English, community resources, extending English language acquisition after school and in the summer, are possible topics for discussion. A powerpoint and brochure on supporting your child in learning English is available through the SWIS and/or Coordinator. Invite the Coordinator to present if you wish.

Reporting and Conferencing
ESL Teachers are responsible for reporting on the progress of all ESL students all three terms. In addition, ESL teachers need to conference with families to discuss progress and when necessary, SWIS workers may be scheduled to assist in interpretation and translation. Report cards may take various forms. For example, some ESL students will receive embedded comments in the regular report card, others will receive a report card insert with comments about progress. Discuss the best way to do your reporting with your administration. Go to Section D. Assessment and Reporting for more information and examples.

Multilingual Parent Resource Sheets :
Originally published with Play & Parenting, FRP Canada's quarterly newsletter these resource sheets are now available in fourteen languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Farsi (Persian),Hindi, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog,†Tamil, Traditional Chinese, Urdu and Vietnamese.
To download, please click on the PDF symbol for the resource sheet and language you desire. This will bring you to the Document Library where you click on PDF after Availability.
Topics include: Building Active Habits, Family Routines, Parents at Play, Promoting Positive Behaviour, Supporting Children's Play, Process Not Product, The Pleasures of Reading Aloud, Change Waiting Time to Play Time, Singing Through the Day, Connecting Through Stories
Note: Each sheet has the equivalent English sheet as page 2.

Extending the English language learning experience beyond school
Here are some suggested topics based on the brochure: How to Help Your Child in Learning English as a Second Language, available through the Coordinator and provided to parents in the "Tea and Talk" sessions. Suggestions are always welcomed to improve brochures. It is hoped that the brochure will be translated into other languages for newcomer families.

At Home and in the Community
Curiosity and play are key elements in the learning process. Children need to learn to question the world around them. Parents can support their child’s learning and success by interacting with them in daily activities. Let them:

• draw, cut, paint, sing, dance, clap rhythms, skip, play cards and LEGO, do puzzles, play make-believe;
• go shopping, put away groceries, make the bed, clean up after play, feed a pet;
• find math everywhere such as at the bank, on the calendar, birthdays, weather reports, thermometer, scales, house numbers, phone numbers, maps, recipes;
• join organized group activities such as Brownies, Cubs, choir, musical theatre, soccer, hockey, swimming;
• attend concerts, movies, and community events together;
• visit parks, museums, art galleries, playgrounds, libraries, aquariums, farms, and the airport;
• play their sports, sing their songs, talk to their friends, ask about their day, their likes, their interests;
• support English play-dates with other classmates.
Developing Literacy
To develop literacy skills in your child:
• Talk with your child. Tell stories from your own childhood and make stories together. Ask open-ended questions and encourage curiosity with questions such as “I wonder why…”
• Try to visit the public library once a week.
• Make reading a daily habit. Read to your child in English and your own first language.
• Try not to correct your child when reading or writing. You want to develop fluency and risk-taking as well as develop strategies to figure out the sounds of words.
• Have books and other reading materials throughout the house and let your child see you reading.
• Watch English DVD’s and educational television together. Listen to English music on the radio and via the Internet.
• Limit use of computer, TV and video games.
• Enroll in Adult ESL classes and show your child that you can do it too! Visit

Be supportive and enthusiastic! Research shows that students whose parents have positive attitudes toward learning English do better !

Common Questions
1. How will I help my child if I don’t speak English?
Don’t worry! Many parents do not speak English at home. There are still several ways to help your child:
• Continue to read aloud in your language to your child every day to provide a rich background of knowledge, vocabulary and culture.
• Focus on sharing a new word in English every day.
• Ask questions such as, “Where did you play today? Who did you play with today? Tell me about something funny that happened today.”

2. Will my ESL child be learning the same things as other students?
ESL students are placed in regular classrooms with English speakers. Everyone studies the same BC curriculum.

3. How will my child communicate with and understand the teacher?
At the beginning, your child may be silent until he/she has the language skills necessary to express himself/herself in English. Through songs, rhymes, games and play situations, your child will be invited to repeat words and sentences. S/he will begin to integrate new vocabulary in everyday communication. Mimes and gestures, voice pitch, context and visuals will all contribute greatly to your child’s language acquisition.

4. What else can I do?
Every day your child should have physical activity, 8-11 hours of sleep, and nutritious meals. Allow free time for creative play with other children and alone. Foster positive self-esteem and independence by having your child do small tasks in the house. Celebrating your child’s successes will encourage continued growth.
Did you know?
• English is the 4th most commonly spoken language in the world with over 650 million speakers and the official language of 45 countries.
• Richmond School District has amongst the highest graduation rates in the province.
• More than 7,000 students are being supported in ESL in Richmond.
Research shows that knowing more than one language has a positive effect on overall achievement in school.
Learning a second language generally takes three to seven years. Initially, children are often silent or use English or a mix of two languages to communicate. However within a few months, a new learner of English typically can carry on a basic conversation.

Educational TV Programs
Sesame Street, Between the Lions, SuperWhy, WordWorld, Clifford, Blues Clues, Reading Rainbow, The Magic School Bus, Wordgirl , Bill Nye the Science Guy, How It’s Made, Daily Planet, Popular Mechanics for Kids, Magic School Bus, Dora The Explorer, Diego, Are we there yet?, The Nature of Things

Suggested Websites for Elementary Students

Reading is Fun (Reading Planet):
Story Place:
Story Sequencing (PBS Kids: Games)
Scholastic (Quick Links on Kids section):
Songs: Learn English Kids:
Fun Brain:
Brain Pop ESL:

For Parents:
Reading is Fundamental:
Family Treasures-Parents:
International Children’s Digital Library:
Colorín Colorado:
Reading Tips from Colorín Colorado in multiple languages: readingtips
Literacy BC Tips for Parents tools_parents.php
Ontario Ministry of Education parent support site in multiple languages: abc123
Peel District School Board has lots of documents in many languages:
Richmond School District:
Richmond Continuing Education for Adults/Children:

Summer School is another way for children to extend their language skills, make friends and build their understanding of culture. Registration is done through Continuing Education in early May.
Here is an example of the program offerings for 2011.