Educational services

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Puentes Culturales offers cultural competence workshops for professional conferences, universities, administrative units and school districts, including early childhood programs and Child Find teams, Head Start and other early care and education programs and agencies.

The workshops improve and enhance evidence-based, family-centered and culturally-competent practices with children from linguistically-, culturally-, and ability-diverse backgrounds, all with a focus on the family! All presentations are adaptable to meet the needs of specific audiences and target groups.

To prepare future professionals to become culturally competent, university programs need to embed research and current evidence-based practices into the pre-service curriculum. Students at all levels need to explore their own dispositions and attitudes about cultural diversity, learn key evidence-based content regarding education of all children, and develop skills in cultural competency when working with children and families. Current professionals in early care and education settings such as Child Find teams, preschool classrooms, children care, and early intervention, also need key content and strategies to enhance their knowledge when serving diverse populations. The following workshops and presentations by Puentes Culturales apply to any audience seeking to enhance their cultural competence when working with children and families.

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Language and Culture: Respecting Family Choices 

(2 hours)

How do families make choices about what languages their children speak at home and at school? How can we prepare future educators and specialists to support and inform this decision-making process? Should these choices be different for a child with an identified disability? What are the long-term cultural consequences of preserving the languages of one’s heritage or of losing them? This seminar addresses these and other questions of interest to faculty preparing future personnel and professionals, teachers and providers of care.

Preparing Personnel to Provide Culturally Competent Services
(University faculty focus: 6 hours)

What do your students in pre-service education programs need to know about 2ndlanguage acquisition and implications for practice? This presentation for faculty provides a whirlwind tour of key content, format, strategies, and resources for preparing personnel to provide culturally-competent services. The presentation includes a significant focus on current research and knowledge about 2nd language acquisition and other implications for practice.

Inside Out-Outside In: Community Collaborations to Develop Field Experiences with Diverse Populations in Personnel Preparation

(University faculty focus: 1-2 hours)

This presentation describes steps taken to develop innovative field experiences for pre-service students preparing to serve culturally, linguistically- and ability-diverse populations. Data from student participants will inform personnel preparation practices.

In the professional workforce, teachers and early childhood providers need updated research-based information regarding cultural competence to inform their practices in district and community-based child care and preschool classrooms. Professionals providing Child Find services and early intervention supports will also benefit from these presentations.

Beyond Words: Effective Use of Cultural Mediators, Interpreters and Translators

(University faculty focus: 1-2 hours)

A videotape and Powerpoint presentation.  How can we support the needs of diverse children and families in our changing world? How do we learn from families to provide culturally competent services? What happens when we meet up with “bumps along the road” in the form of cultural dilemmas? What are recommended practices in appropriate use of translators and interpreters or cultural mediators to bridge gaps for linguistically diverse populations?  This presentation reviews key practices that can help build trust and communication with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds through the use of cultural mediators.

How to Become a Cultural Mediator

(Seminar series adapted to specific backgrounds)

This workshop is targeted to para-educators and bicultural-bilingual staff and parents.  Cultural mediators are essential members of the education process. When culturally and linguistically diverse students and families enter the educational system, well-prepared cultural mediators build trust, provide information, and become a “bridge between parents and schools”. This engages families to become active participants in their child’s program. They serve as an integral link when children need referral in the RtI system for more intensive or special education services. They can also provide a higher level of interpreting services in gathering and sharing information with school team members and teachers, interpreting during an assessment when the child’s language is different from the professionals, explaining issues in IEP meetings, participating in parent conferences, and resolving cultural conflicts. They provide the link between home and school that enhances the teacher’s knowledge and responsiveness to each child and family.

Cultural mediators learn skills in team-based practices, roles and responsibilities, styles and settings for interpretations, building trust with families, ethnographic interviewing, use of educational terminology, confidentiality and the culture of the schools.

Responsive Teaching of Culturally-, Linguistically-, and Ability- Diverse Young Children in the Classroom

(2-3 hours directed at early care and education providers)

Learn more about what models and current research suggests about evidence-based practices for teaching all young children, with a focus on addressing the needs of English language learners. Participants will enjoy new video resources on building connections to home and ideas for teaching strategies.

Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families: Supporting Family Participation and Information Sharing through El Grupo de Familias

(60-90 minutes)

This presentation reviews background and research that informs an innovative, culturally resonant, and inclusive, parent support and education model for prevention and early intervention. Implementation of the model is depicted through video snippets of parents and children who are from monolingual or bilingual Spanish speaking backgrounds.  The framework can be adapted for use with all families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Innovations in Collaborative Consultation: Coaching to Improve Quality of Language and Literacy Learning in Early Care and Education

Implementation of the CLC Outreach Model to improve quality of language and literacy learning in early care and education involves working with teachers and families to support children’s early language and literacy development at school and at home. Implementation of current models in collaborative consultation focused on information sharing and self reflection, combined with knowledge of evidenced based practices that support early language and literacy development, results in measurable changes in teacher practices and parent engagement. Stories from four families and early care and education settings illustrate how this project implemented recommended practices in preparing all children for later conventional reading and writing.

Technical Assistance, Consultation and Coaching

Staff from Puentes Culturales has expertise and experience in program development and evaluation including: grant writing, development of logic models, evaluation tools, and documentation and reporting practices. Staff have provided technical assistance to organizations in accessing current resources, information gathering strategies such as interviews, focus groups, group facilitation and network development. Consultation to early intervention programs has involved direct coaching with early intervention and Child Find teams, classroom teachers in child care and preschool settings. Puentes Culturales has developed parent education and support programs as well as facilitating development of networks for ongoing information sharing.

See Projects for how Puentes Culturales has supported other groups to become culturally competent in serving culturally, linguistically and ability diverse children and their families.

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