March Parent Cafe – English Language Learners

The March Parent Cafe was for any parents who wanted to know how to support their child in the English learning process. We were pleased to welcome Miss Kathryn Lewis, the English as an Additional Language(EAL) coordinator as the facilitator. Miss Lewis got everyone up and moving and thinking about language.

How many ways can you use the word table? We sit at a table. There is a table of contents at the beginning of a book. In mathematics there are multiplication tables. In science there is a periodic table. But did you know that there is a part of a diamond called table? Miss Lewis was helping us to realize some of the facets of learning vocabulary; the meaning is important, but the context is also important.


What can you do as a parent to help your child? We were introduced to five Ps of the English learning process.

  • Parents
    • Need to encourage your child
    • Work with the school
    • Provide opportunities for your child to learn your native language and culture
  • Purpose
    • Do you want your child to only speak English?
    • Do you want your child to be multilingual?
    • Why does your child want to learn English? Is it to please you, the parents?
    • A child will be self-motivated when he has a strong purpose
  • Play
    • We learn best when we are excited about what we are learning
    • Learning occurs best through things we enjoy
  • Practice
    • Everything we do gets better through practice
    • Asking your child about what they are doing in the classroom is a good way to help them understand concepts
      • Ask your child about specific subjects or classes. What did you learn in science today? What was the hardest thing in English?
      • Even if your child answers in your native language it will help in their understanding concepts
  • Patience
    • Learning a language takes time and practice
    • Each chid is unique
    • Even with a child who learns to speak quickly, it takes patience to raise a multilingual child

What are some of the ways we are helping students at CAJ. In the kindergarten, first and second grade classes there are 2 teachers most of the day to provide support to the EAL students. From third grade to fifth grade there are 2 teachers for various subjects. There are also two extra classes, one before school and another during the Japanese language classes that an EAL student may be attending. In middle school there are 2 teachers for English and there is an EAL class in the afternoon. In high school there are EAL classes for 9th and 10th grade students depending on needs.

All of the teachers are given strategies to support EAL students. There are ongoing assessments of students who are identified with EAL needs and even students who are not identified at the time of admissions are regularly evaluated by their teachers if there is need for support.

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