A LeaP into Family Engagement: Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP)


By Jane Partridge
Project Coordinator
Visions for Early Learning


¿Cuál es una diferencia que se ve en usted mismo o su crianza como resultado de esta clase?
(What is one difference you see in yourself or your parenting as a result of this class?)

“To help the best that I can my daughter and spend necessary time with her taking care of her and telling her what is OK and what is not in her behavior, to be a mom and responsible person.”
– Response typed verbatim from Positive Parenting-Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP) 2014 Student Satisfaction Survey (Spanish answers translated)


See photos of LeaP in action!

See photos of LeaP in action!

At Villa San Juan Bautista and Villa los Milagros — Catholic Community affordable housing communities for migrant and farm workers in Centralia — family engagement was all about Learning through Play when these communities invited Centralia College’s Child and Family Studies to offer Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP) on-site. Utilizing a unique competitive mini-grant provided by Visions for Early Learning with 2014 Community Momentum Grant funds from Thrive by Five of Washington, Centralia College was able to honor the families’ request to bring LEAP to their communities.
This class was structured to encourage the parents, their child’s first and most important teachers, to engage with their children ages birth to four. Activities included free play and art, reading English/Spanish books, singing and finger plays, and snack. Based on attachment and brain research, the LeaP curriculum focused on creating everyday interactions and fun activities that build the parent-child bond and help parents recognize, understand and support their child’s physical, mental, social, and emotional needs. These students gained important parenting support as the instructor built on the cultural values and strengths of the families, and engaged them in conversations regarding child growth and development that leads to success in school and beyond.
Parents reported that they enjoyed learning how to play with their child(ren). Weekly reviews and conversations about topics from the previous session demonstrated that these mothers and fathers were thoughtful in planning daily activities around their learning. Often they had spent time during the week finding new ways to engage with their children through play.
In this family-focused approach that brought the college to the community, each housing complex offered their own community room for class. Villa San Juan Bautista families attended in the evening, while Villa los Milagros parents and children attended a morning session that was embedded once a week into the English as a Second Language (ESL) class.
At the beginning of the quarter much of the material was presented in Spanish. However, as the quarter progressed, more and more parents practiced English skills; they read the children’s books in English and sang the class songs and finger plays in English. The instructor reported that it appeared the supportive, safe style of the class opened up opportunities for the parents to practice English.
The program was not without challenges. Most notably, the paperwork was daunting for students with limited English and/or Spanish reading skills, and parenting instruction was more challenging when parents were accompanied to class by extended family and children of different ages. However, when parents responded on the end of quarter satisfaction survey, there was heartwarming evidence of program success. They were eager to share their thoughts and learning.
The following questions and answers were extracted verbatim from the Satisfaction Survey and translated.

¿Explique una cosa que usted aprendió acerca de cómo guiar y disciplinar a tu hijo/a?
(Explain one thing you learned about guiding or disciplining your young child?)

“I learned that instead to say no to children, it is better to explain better, or give them more options of what they can do.”
“I learned to dedicate more time to my children.”
“We learned that it is very important to reinforce our child and give her praises to better motivate and encourage her and make her feel better about herself.”
¿Explique al menos una cosa que usted aprendió sobre el desarrollo del niño que ayuda a comprender mejor a su hijo? (Explain at least one thing you learned about child development that helps you understand your child better?)
“To spend more time together and we notice the love that we have for each other and we spend time together with their little friends also.”
“To play together, share, show love and trust.”
“All children have different ways to learn during their development”
¿De qué manera las actividades de los padres / niños ayudaban a su relación con su hijo?
(In what ways did the parent/child activities help your relationship with your child?)

“And they (the class) help me to spend more time with them and to know them better.”
“Sing together.”
“We definately bonded more. I got to know my daughter and see her own unique personality.”

Visions for Early Learning West Central Early Learning Coalition and Centralia College are dedicated to sustaining high quality family engagement through continued financial support for Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP) utilizing Fiscal Year 2015 Community Momentum Grant funds.
For more information on Centralia College’s Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP) class, contact Linda Wilcox, Manager, Centralia College Parenting Education at lwilcox@centralia.edu.