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.