Families of ML students have a wealth of knowledge to share, particularly about their language, culture, home life, and their child (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2006). Research shows that strong home-school connections are related to positive learning and developmental outcomes for children from diverse backgrounds (Durand, 2011; Fantuzzo et al., 2004; Halgunseth, Jia, & Barbarin, 2013; Jeynes, 2012; Lin, 2003). Families of ML students play a critical role in helping to maintain their home language and culture for their children, which is important for children’s identity development, among the other advantages of bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism (Phinney et al., 2001; Schwartz, 2010). By partnering together and engaging in two-way communication, teachers and families can share information and learn with and from each other. Within the classroom, teachers should incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy by integrating families’ language and culture in the learning. In turn, teachers help children make connections between their experiences at home, school, and in their community to provide early learning experiences that will best meet their needs (Espinosa & Crandell, 2020). Communication with families should be frequent and ongoing, and responsive to families’ needs, even if you do not speak the home language.

Evidence-Based Strategies and Resources

Gather information on each child’s language/cultural background from parents upon enrollment.* 

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Talk with families about their language and learning goals for their child. Ask families to share their thoughts on their child’s bilingual development and how this may relate to their goals.

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Provide families with information on home language development and the benefits of bilingualism and encourage them to continue to speak their home language to their children.

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Partner with families to provide varied opportunities for them to come to the classroom to share their language and culture.

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Provide parents with learning activities to do at home with their child to support home language development and connect the curriculum with learning at home.

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Partner with families on identifying topics or ideas that are of interest to the child and incorporate these in curriculum planning.

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*Note: When collecting information from families, gather information that will be helpful for informing instruction. Avoid questions that may be sensitive, such as those concerning citizenship/immigration status, which should not have implications for students’ access to free public education (see CDE description of immigration status of students) and their entitlement to feel safe and secure at school (as described in this Assembly Bill No. 699). 


Durand, T. M. 2011. Latino Parental Involvement in Kindergarten: Findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 33(4,: 469-489.

Fantuzzo, J., McWayne, C., Perry, M. A., & Childs, S. (2004). Multiple dimensions of family involvement and their relations to behavioral and learning competencies for urban, low-income children. School psychology review, 33(4), 467-480.

González, N., Moll, L. C., & Amanti, C. (Eds.). (2006). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Routledge.

Halgunseth, L., Jia, G., & Barbarin, O. (2013). Family engagement in early childhood programs: Serving families of dual language learners. In California’s Best Practices for Young Dual Language Learners: Research Overview Papers (119-171). Sacramento, CA: Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care.

Jeynes, W. (2012). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of different types of parental involvement programs for urban students. Urban education, 47(4), 706-742.

Lin, Q. (2003). Parent involvement and early literacy. Harvard Family Research Project.

Phinney, J. S., Horenczyk, G., Liebkind, K., & Vedder, P. (2001). Ethnic identity, immigration, and well‐being: An interactional perspective. Journal of social issues, 57(3), 493-510.

Schwartz, M., Moin, V., Leikin, M., & Breitkopf, A. (2010). Immigrant parents’ choice of a bilingual versus monolingual kindergarten for second-generation children: Motives, attitudes, and factors. International Multilingual Research Journal, 4(2), 107-124.