Early childhood educators have an integral role to play in recognizing and celebrating the value in children’s home contexts when making intentional decisions, while being sure to capitalize on the strengths for each child and family. In recommending the integration of a culturally responsive stance, we return to Gay’s (2010) definition, which explains that when students’ cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles influence our everyday instructional practices and the selection of learning materials, we are responding more effectively to learners’ needs.
Supporting families in a strength-based and culturally sensitive way is critical for creating an inclusive classroom environment and building strength-based relationships with families. The role of the family in a child’s language and literacy development is critical and individual. Early childhood educators have the opportunity to build relationships with families and to partner with them to recognize the influential role they already play in developing their children’s literacy expressions. Celebrating the individuality of families allows educators to leverage equitable practices and nurtures each child’s unique linguistic pathway. It is imperative that we understand the diversity of families and work to build on their strengths while being aware of our own perspectives and implicit biases. The bird in the nest model cannot survive without the support of the nest in the tree. This illustrates the vital role of families in young children’s language and literacy development.