At LCNV, our Family Learning Program (FLP) is defined by both the Federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and by our own unique mission statement. The Federal Act states, in part:
Family literacy refers to a continuum of programs that addresses the intergenerational nature of literacy. Under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, family literacy programs integrate (1) interactive literacy activities between parent and child; (2) training in parenting activities; (3) literacy training that leads to economic self-sufficiency; (4) age appropriate education to prepare children for success in school and life experiences…Family literacy programs vary from one community to another as each program works to meet the needs of the participants and the community as well.
Further, LCNV specifies that family literacy includes language and literacy education that empowers adults to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. The population that LCNV serves is primarily that of non-native language speakers. Our Family Learning Program focuses significantly on building the English language skills of the parent which, in turn, provides positive modeling for the child. The English language skills that the adults are taught are done so within a framework of family-related topics such as school, community, work, health and nutrition to name a few.
The traditional model of family literacy focuses on small children, but at LCNV, we also conduct programs in middle schools. In the traditional model, PACT (Parent and Child Time) activities are conducted in the classroom once or twice a month to foster family literacy. Activities include arts and crafts, singing and more but mainly focus on caregivers reading to and conversing with their children. In the middle schools, we encourage family interactions through conversations around timely issues that affect middle-schoolers. Activities are based on family discussions around the dinner table. Emphasis is on understanding and discussing topics with reading and writing to follow.
Additionally, Family Service Projects can also serve as PACT activities is both types of programs. In these activities, the parents and children come together to identify and work on a community issue of interest and importance to them. Family Service Projects can be varied and diverse. It can be anything from volunteering at the local food bank, visiting the local library to learn about their services, to helping with voter registrations in their neighborhoods or helping their school with an ongoing project. In both programs, family interactions promulgate the notion that “parents are supported as the first teacher of their children.”