This week we were given a scenario about being an early childhood professional who will be working with a child whose family has immigrated from Russia. Because I do not know much about the country of Russia, I would need to do some preparations which will help me when the child starts coming to our program. Here are some of the preparations that I would do:
1. I would first do some research about the country of origin, I would try to reach out to other early childhood professionals who Live in Russia to learn more about what I could expect from this family. I would also ask general questions about the culture, be I would keep in mind that the family culture may be very different from the mainstream culture.
2. I would invite the family to come in and talk with me, I would need to know if I would have to get an interpreter, or find out how much English they may know. When meeting with the family I could ask questions about their family culture and learn more about the child that I will be working with. This will give me a better understanding of how we will need to support the child and what is important to the family for their child.
3. Explore my own bias/stereotypes about this family. I feel that after I have done research and have spoken with the family it would be time to do some self -exploration. I would want to dig deep within myself to see if I do hold any bias, or any stereotypical beliefs.
4. After this I can then move on to setting up the environment so that the child and their family feels welcome. Depending on how much English the child knows, I may have to learn some simple words in Russian, and perhaps label some items in the room. I would have to find out how it would be best to communicate with the family daily. Preparing the children for the new student would also be important as well. Perhaps bringing in some books, or photographs of Russia, but remembering to keep a check on bias. I could also ask the child’s family to being in some objects to help the child’s transition.
5. I would also encourage the family to visit the program with the child a few times before they start. This way I can learn more about the child and his family. By having them visit I can see how they interact together, and learn more about the child because I can ask questions. If this cannot be done, maybe a home visit or two would be helpful.
I feel that by taking these steps I can help the family and myself be prepared for lays ahead. I can get a better understanding of who the family is, and who the child is. I also believe that by looking inside myself I can start with a “clean slate” and remove any bias I may have. Many times, I feel that the process of children starting in new child care settings can be rushed, and the transitions are hard. By taking steps prior, we can ensure that the transition may be smoother for the family and for the child.