Pre-work Session 2 : VOICE - La Fuerza de Familias Latinas

Pre-work Session 2 : VOICE

Due: Weekday, Date, Time ET  

Background A: Stress Effects on Developing Voices:

A child’s social and emotional environment has an important influence on how their brain develops. The quality of a child’s relationship to nurturing and responsive adults can strengthen their cognitive development and intellectual growth.  Highly stressed caregivers can find it difficult to express what they need; just like highly stressed children. Early literacy begins with developing an appropriate feelings’ vocabulary, self-regulating emotional responses to new experiences, and building positive relationships with caregivers.

Let’s continue our course journey by reflecting on the influences, barriers, and strengths of the community of Latinx caregivers, especially those who are predominantly Spanish-speakers.  Let’s consider your role in helping those caregivers navigate a cross-sector of systems and issues that impact their engagement as partners in their child’s learning.

Assignment #1:

Click HERE to watch a 5-minute video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, then reflect on the questions below.

Reference: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2018, January). How Children and Adults Can Build Core Capabilities for Life (Video). YouTube.

Brain dump

Below is a list of guiding questions to get you thinking.
Briefly reflect on the prompts below.

1. Sphere of Influence: What are some stressors that influence the social-emotional well-being of caregivers? How might these stressors prevent them from identifying or expressing what they need from their School, Community, and Home?

The attitudes and practices that impact the social-emotional and general wellbeing of Spanish-speaking caregivers are:


2. Family Engagement Goals & Your Role: What skills or support might aid a parent of a young child as they support the healthy development of their child’s early emotional intelligence? How might reading habits further strengthen their bonds with their child?

In my role of supporting family engagement, I can …

3. Home Culture: How might the home culture of caregivers in your community promote or prevent early literacy development in children?

This is what I / we understand …

Background B. Heart-Language and Voice

At La Fuerza de Familias Latinas, we believe in the benefits of bilingualism or multilingualism. Practices that encourage parents to speak, sing, play, and tell stories in their heart language are promoted in the videos and digital assets supporting the family engagement workshops.

But our first language at home is our culture [IMG]

Heart language is unique to each family and might include Spanish, Nahuatl, “Spanglish,” sign language, or nonverbal and cultural communication. Parents model emotional vocabulary and expression. Studies show that being raised in a home rich in multiple languages ​​promotes the brain’s flexible thinking abilities, learning, and developing social skills.

Children develop their unique voices when in conversation with their caregivers. However, many Spanish-speaking caregivers are not receiving this message. When parents feel pride and confidence in their voice, they understand their powerful influence on their child’s life.

Assignment #2

Click HERE to watch this 50-second video from our Moments of Connection series, called El Bilingüismo es Poderoso, which means “Bilingualism is Powerful” which we created to remind caregivers that a child’s first language at home is their culture.

Brain dump

Below is a list of guiding questions to get you thinking.
Briefly reflect on the prompts below.

1. Reflection on Caregiver Influence: Research where the families in your community call home.

What is the heart language of caregivers in your community?

How might these cultural expressions inform your work?

This is what I / we understand …

2. Supporting Voice:

What practices or strategies do you incorporate to promote the voices of caregivers?

What might prevent a caregiver from using their voice, even if they knew it was valued?

In my role, I can support the voices of caregivers by …

Background C. Promoting Voice: Theory of Change and Practices

Our Theory of Change takes a 2-Generation Approach to Literacy, which is to improve child outcomes by building on adult capabilities, as illustrated here in the diagram, on the left.

Theory of Change [IMG]

Let’s begin with the assumption that every parent already possesses what they need to succeed and to provide a great future for their children. Somewhere during an adult’s development, their confidence about their capabilities may have been hurt due to systemic trauma (ie denial of good education and work opportunities, safe housing was not affordable, abuse / neglect in their childhoods, hardships, social attitudes that negative impressed messages , lack of representation, illness, etc.).

By centering caregiver voices, we boost confidence and competence. Family Engagement Workshops provide caregivers with access to a community, encourage critical thinking, and set up conditions for parents to see how they can contribute to solving problems.

Our framework and routines create a safe place for discussion. Caregivers are encouraged to follow their questions, while the facilitator makes space for collaborative problem-solving and peer coaching. These practices are informed by anti-oppressive and trauma-informed approaches to adult education.

Assignment #3

Share one resource or tool on WhatsApp.The resources or tool can be a reading, video, infographic, tip or podcast that you believe might benefit a workshop for Spanish-speaking caregivers.