Lorena, an early childhood educator from Mt. Pocono, shares her story as part of #100Stories100Days:

“Last year, I had a young girl in my class who was born in the United States, but her parents are Asian and spoke only Chinese at home. Her mother thought it would be a good idea for her to socialize and interact with other children, so she enrolled her in my preschool classroom.

“When she first arrived, she was very shy and couldn’t understand the other children, who spoke English. She cried for her mother, didn’t mingle or play with the other kids and just stood in the corner with her stuffed animal. At circle time, I told the other children that we have a new friend in our class. I asked them to look around at everyone in the circle and asked a question: ‘Are we all the same, or are we different?’

“The kids pointed out that we have different eye and hair colors. They said to me: ‘You are different too because you are Spanish and you teach us Spanish words.’ I told them that we have a new friend learning how to speak our language – and that is when one of my students suggested doing a poster of words and pictures like dog, cat, bird and pizza.

“‘We’ll help teach her,’ they told me.

“I gathered magazines, scissors, and glue sticks, and they cut out pictures and glued it onto the poster to make a word chart. They showed her the pictures, said the words and pointed to the objects. I then asked her parents to make a word chart in Chinese – they included 20 words, like hello, good-bye, boy and girl – and they came in to demonstrate how to pronounce each word. The kids loved learning Chinese, and were so excited to learn three languages at once.

“Within three weeks, she started saying words in English to the other children in the class, and even began speaking in sentences. She will be going to kindergarten this September.”

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