Parents and Children Learning Together

Did you know there’s a lot of learning going on in Room 213 and the students are Harms Elementary parents? These adult students are twenty mothers who are part of the English Language Learners and Toyota Family Learning Programs through Southwest Solutions in Detroit. This program meets daily for three hours and is federally funded through the Social Innovation Fund with wraparound funding from Toyota. The components of this intensive program include Adult Education, Parent Time, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time, Family Service Learning and Mentoring. The results of this research project continue to show that children in pre-k through 3rd grade have improved reading scores, attendance, behavior, and attitude when their parents learn English, participate in their children’s classroom, are involved in community projects, and are exposed to neighborhood resources to help meet family needs.

Parents are introduced to English reading, writing, speaking, and grammar as well as English that is specific to their child’s academic grade-level. The goal is to help parents help their children at home. By visiting and interacting in their child’s classroom on a daily basis for PACT Time, parents can observe the teacher and better understand daily lessons and homework requirements. In the adult class, parents are also shown simple ways to support literacy development and homework help through English language lessons, music/singing, and community-based field trips. Spanish speaking guest speakers support parents skills with weekly workshops and trainings on a variety of topics. Together, families organize and carry out three service learning projects per year, addressing the issues that they identify as community needs.

Recently the class made a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts which provided a cultural experience for the mothers that the majority had never experienced before. It also offered a meaningful learning opportunity for art-related vocabulary and an in-depth study of Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, and his influence on the art world and the city of Detroit. As a wrap-up activity after the trip, students created their own version of Diego Rivera’s Flower Carrier mural that is now on display in Room 213. All components of the English Language Learners Program are important to its overall success and its impact on the children and their parents. We invite you to visit our classroom to learn more about the program and to share in our learning experience.

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