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LA March2006 qxd 2 8 06 9 29 AM Page 297 Community as Curriculum Jim Cummins Patricia Chow Sandra R Schecter Educators work together to develop activities that explicitly 297 build on the resources and abilities that children bring to school Community as Curriculum Although it is spring snow blankets the schoolyard Eight year old Ashish and his parents dressed in layers and shivering from the cold are not used to this climate having arrived in Canada three weeks earlier from India Bypassing the schoolyard they enter Thornwood Public School and report directly to the main office where Lynda Sliz one of Thornwood s English as a Second Language teachers is expecting them Indeed she has arranged for an Urdu interpreter to assist with the reception process Ms Sliz greets the family warmly She escorts them to the librarian s office where they are able to talk quietly There she initiates a discussion on school policies routines and expectations traversing a range of subjects including the grade level curriculum Thornwood s safe arrival program home school book protocols and appropriate clothing for gym Through the interpreter Ashish s parents are encouraged to ask questions regarding the new school system so that they can better support their child at Thornwood They are also encouraged to raise any concerns they may have Ashish is free to listen and join in the discussion to read a dual language book in Urdu or to draw Throughout the Copyright 2006 by the National Council of Teachers of English All rights reserved LA March2006 qxd 2 8 06 9 29 AM Page 298 interview Ms Sliz addresses Ashish on matters about which he may have useful first hand information 298 Community as Curriculum Because the lines of communication between this newcomer family and the school have been opened and because from the outset the school has proved responsive to their needs Ashish and his parents will likely feel comfortable in approaching Thornwood staff including Ms Sliz with future concerns

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