Family Learning and English for Speakers of Other Languages ESOL

We are currently responding to requests from Principals and Home School Community Liaison teachers to support parents from other countries. We are delivering a variety of courses to reach parents who are not familiar with the Irish education system. We provide parents with the language skills to support homework and parent teacher meetings, communicating with teachers and understanding the curriculum. See course details below and adapt to suit your own group.

ESOL for Parents of Primary School Children

General comments:

  • It is important to begin and end each session with an opportunity to ask and answer questions about issues and concerns that may have come up during the week.
  • Each session could have an English language strand to it relevant to the session content e.g giving personal information, question forms, vocabulary, numbers, days and months, family groups etc.
  • Look at school policies on health & safety, homework/bullying etc.
  • Develop sessions around school events and celebrations e.g. St Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Pancake Day etc. Encourage the parents to talk about festivals and holidays in their own countries.
  • Make each session welcoming and relaxed – have tea/coffee available if possible.

Session 1:

  • Names, children’s names and ages
  • Begin with hearing parents experiences in their own schools
  • Talk about similarities and differences
  • Go through list of teachers, principal and other staff in school
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Put teachers names to classes and room numbers

Session 2:

  • Irish Education System – use large copy laminated and copies for parents
  • How the school day is divided up.
  • School and home routines
  • School subjects – Picture dictionaries/ Anseo unit on schools “What subjects do your children study in school?”
  • What does/doesn’t your child like about school? If parents have low literacy levels use the smiley face worksheet from IILT. Adapt as necessary.

Session 3:

  • Parent teacher meetings (IILT/Anseo worksheets)
  • Preparing questions for teachers
  • Expressing problems and concerns
  • School reports – look at examples

Session 4:

  • Letters from/to school – (letter templates, writing frames from IILT and Resource folder)
  • Phone calls – use role play/cloze exersises

Session 5:

  • Healthy eating – food pyramid, lunches, what they have been used to in their own countries
  • Children’s health, childhood illnesses, vocabulary of health (this is a big topic so elicit areas of particular interest)
  • Children’s emotional health – how do you know if something is wrong? (Not strictly an ESOL area but they will need to know the language to explain concerns to the teacher)
  • Introduce issues and concerns box for next week – allows the parent to express concerns anonymously

Session 6:

  • Parents could bring in samples of their child’s work to talk about.
  • Issues and concerns box
  • Introduce progression on to secondary schools if relevant

All of the above can be matched to the specific learning outcomes on accredited courses.

Developed by Clare Sheahan, Resource Tutor, Clare Family Learning Project. June 2008