I have 60 Preschool English learners from diverse backgrounds. The majority speak Spanish, but I also have speakers of Chinese and Arabic. They all come from low-income families; most parents have to work two or three jobs, and as a result, they do not get to spend much time with their children.
Due to their academically and socially poor home environments, their ages, and the fact that for most of them it is their first time in school, they come to us speaking very little to no English and are at a stage called the silent stage.
At this stage, regardless of the first language they speak, children are acquiring language mostly from their environment, so their classrooms need to be visually and aurally rich.
Having students participate in singing songs, interactive read-alouds - in which they look closely at pictures, words, and start developing pre-reading skills- and playing games, are considered best teaching practices to keep them engaged, promote long-term learning, and a high level of language.
Dollhouses and family playsets have always been a staple in the preschool classroom for very important reasons; they provide opportunities for meaningful pretend to play, and children engage in higher quality conversations and play, especially when they feel identified with them because they feel naturally attracted to items that reflect what they know about themselves.
The Dramatic Play area is the place to shine when it comes to providing students with a space in which they can find a variety of materials that reflect their culture, customs, and traditions from home, and the dollhouse and family play sets are perfect for that.
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