The country I chose for the scenario this week is Martinique. Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The country is surrounded by Dominica to the northwest, St Lucia to the south and Barbados to the southeast. Martinique is one of the twenty-seven regions of France which makes it part of the European Union. Its currency is the Euro. The official language spoken is French although many of its inhabitants also speak Antillean Creole.
The north of the island is mountainous and lushly forested. There are active volcanoes and gray or black sandy beaches. This contrasts with the white sandy beaches in the south where most of the tourists go. Martinique's culture blends French and Caribbean influences.
Here are at least five ways in which I’d prepare for and welcome a family from Martinique into my program.
1. I would search for more information about Martinique. It may help to learn more about the geography, environment and culture.
2. I would prepare the classroom. I would start by talking to the children about how there is a new friend joining our class. I would put up pictures of the country and some of its landmarks like the different beaches, cities and volcanoes. I would also include pictures of everyday life. Since their official language is French, I could start incorporating French into the classroom environment. We have all our centers and toy bins labeled in English so I would label them in French as well.
3. I would meet with the family to talk with them about goals they have for their child, questions about the program, their child's favorite things, dietary concerns etc. I would encourage the family to visit our classroom to see how the program works and encourage the child to bring some things from his or her country to share with the class. They could bring toys, books, games, music, foods etc. I would also find an interpreter for communication.
4. I would add some of the child's favorite snacks or meals to the menu. This gives the rest of the class an opportunity to try new foods while making the new child feel more at home.
5. I would ask the parents to teach me key phrases in French or another language that they might speak. I would also put the list of key words or phrases up in the classroom so that other staff members and the children can read them.
I hope that with this plan of action that this family would feel welcome and respected as important contributors to our center.
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