Friday, December 16, 2011

Welcoming Families From Around the World - Our Family from Sri Lanka

 Our child development center just recieved word that a family from Sri Lanka will be starting next week.  We have enough time to prepare for their arrival.
First, I contact the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington, DC to find out family hierarchy.  I want to show respect to the leader of the family.
I ask where the nearest consulate is located and/or if there are Sri Lankan communities in our city.
Second, I contact the community leaders to ask about the availability of translators of the official language, Sinhala.  I ask how children show respect to their elders.  I ask about customs.  I ask them to tell me something they think I should know.
Third, I consult with the translator to learn essential words the teachers and I will need for the children.  Words for  welcome, hello, good-bye, bathroom, rest and eat, and Mommy will be back to pick you up are vital to know.
Fourth, I meet with the teachers to give them information about the family, where they are from, the different religions in the country, the family hierarchy and all other information the community leaders shared with me.  I would also require them to research the Sri Lankan culture and where it is located in the world.


The fifth step before their arrival, I would have the teachers make a welcome sign for the children and family entering their classroom, written in their first language and in English with a picture of their country's map.

I feel these preparations would benefit me by learning more about a country and culture I know nothing about.  This would increase my knowledge base and help me feel comfortable with the new family.

I feel these preparations benefit the family because they would see the thought that went into their arrival.  They would feel truly welcomed.


  1. Stephanie,

    You have taken some great steps to prepare yourself and your teachers for this new family. I also have a family that will be starting after the first of the year however they are from Trinidad. I like your idea of researching family hierarchy to show respect for their culture. I would like to share some of your ideas with my teachers in prepartion for our new family. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I would certainly feel welcome if I were a member of this family. I like the ideas you generated regarding getting culturally relevant information. I had not thought to call the embassy to discuss translators and the like. I will definitely use that in the future as we have so many families where English is not their first language, and I know I generate lots of material as it pertain to curriculum and it would be important for all my families to understand and connect to the materials.

  3. Stephanie,

    Thank you for reminding us to research family hierarchy and signs of respect. These are extremely important to know when deal with an unfamiliar culture because you would not want to start off the relationship by offending anyone.

    I also like the welcome sign idea. This is a wonderful way to make the family feel accepted and respected.