Editor's Pick

Raising a Bilingual Child. A guide for parents who are questioning how to raise a child to be biliterate

For the many parents who are interested in giving their children the benefits of becoming bilingual but aren’t sure how to teach a second language, Raising a Bilingual Child is an essential resource. The step-by-step guide is the perfect combination of information, encouragement and practical advice. Bilingualism expert Dr. Barbara Zurer Pearson includes information gleaned from over 20 years of research experience as well as parents’ testimonials, helpful lists of what to do and what not to do, and frequently asked questions.

It is both a handbook for parents, a reference book for teachers, and a natural text for courses in education and language.” – Fred Genesee, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, McGill University, Co-author of Dual Language Instruction: A Handbook for Enriched Education

If you want your kids to learn a secon language you should consider the school programs that sisd is offering for children and teenagers.

One of Welcoming Schools’ favorites activities in elementary schools is hosting Family Nights where all families in the school community are invited to come together for an evening to celebrate family diversity. During Family Night we often have a panel representing different kinds of family structures––including single-parent families, multiracial families, adoptive families, bilingual families, two mom or two dad families, families with a transgender child, families with differing physical abilities, military families or families with step parents. Participants discuss how they talk about their family with their children, and how teachers and other families in the school community can support and validate their family structure at home and at school.

These events consistently show that there is no such thing as a “normal” or “typical” family, that all families are unique and the more we can learn about each other, the better we can support one another in conversations — both in conversations at the dinner table and in school curricula, policies and practices.

Even if Welcoming Schools isn’t in your school yet, as a parent, there are steps you can take to make your school more inclusive. As parents prepare for the coming school year, consider these five options:

Organize a Family Night to share and learn about the different family structures in your school community, and how to better support all families and all children. You can read about one school’s family night experience here.
Ask your PTA to host a Respect For All Project and HRC Welcoming Schools film night to view films addressing identity-based bullying and how all members of the school community can promote respectful behavior among students.
Practice how you might respond to children’s questions about family diversity, such as, “Can Two Women or Two Men Get Married?” by checking out our HRC guide here.
Ask your school if lesson plans about families are representative of the diversity of families in the school district and provide your school with lesson plans that are.
In addition to ensuring that your child’s school media center has picture books that represent all families, build your own library at home of books that not only reflect your family structure, but also introduce new types of families to your child.