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  • Web Video Producer: Christian Amundson
  • Editors: Daniel Jarvis, Doug Keely
  • Associate Producer: Douglas Keely
  • Camera: Daniel Jarvis
  • Sound: Douglas Keely
  • Graphics: Cait Camarata
  • Director of Video: Amy Erin Borovoy

© 2015 | The George Lucas Educational Foundation | All rights reserved.

While filming in an elementary school in Richmond, California, earlier this year, we saw a clever idea in a kindergarten class. The teacher was building an inclusive community in his classroom of English-language learners by encouraging parents to come to his class and participate directly in their kids' learning.

While not every parent is able to volunteer time during the school day, for those that are able, it can be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. In the video above, teacher Douglas Wheeler of Bayview Elementary explains why it's a win-win situation when parents are able to come to school -- the parents feel connected to what's happening in the classroom, and the learning gets extended beyond the school day.

Since Wheeler is fluent in Spanish, there is no language barrier in communicating with his students' parents.

If you're looking for more resources for supporting English-language learners, start with our ELL topic page. Here are three of our favorites:

Want to learn more about the best ways to stay connected with parents? Check out our Home-to-School Connections topic page. Here are three great starting points:

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Sha'Quawn's picture

Wow, I really like this idea of inviting parents to the classroom. I have an ELL student in my Pre-K class and I've been trying to find ways in how I can effectively teach him. Parent involvement is always great.

Juliet18's picture
Middle grades LA, SS from Southeast USA

Hmmm, I've been teaching 27 years, and I've always had an open door classroom. ALL parents are encouraged to come and participate any day. I post more "active" days on my calendar but I encourage parents to come on reading days or writing days, too, to benefit from all perspectives of learning activities. It is a great way to bond with parents, assist your struggling students, develop a "takes a village" atmosphere, and assist struggling parents. I really didn't know this was such a new concept, but for you new teachers, please extend this to ALL of your students' parents. It is such a rewarding experience for the teacher as well. (If you are unsure of how to get started - I recommend making task cards for parents that state class routines, where main supplies are located, and suggestions how to help - to give to parents. This can quell a lot of distracting questions from parents who mean well and want to participate as much as possible when they are in the room.) Have a great new year!

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

Thanks for the practical tips and encouragement, Juliet18! You're absolutely correct that this is not a new concept -- but we thought it could stand repeating since it can be so valuable to get parents into the room, and we thought this teacher's approach to making parent involvement particularly useful for parents of English-language learners was great.

judyd123's picture

This is a good video. Parent involvement is by no means new. The exception to this class is that many or all the children are Hispanic. I teach at a school with a large Hispanic percentage. I have several in my kindergarten class. I would love for my Hispanic parents to come in and work with their children. Mr. Wheeler has one advantage I do not have and that is speaking Spanish fluently. I applaud him for his effort and caring about his students.

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