Building Relationships with diverse students and families: A funds of Knowledge Perspective

Iliana Reyes, Ana Christina Da Silva Iddings, Nayalin Feller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine how preservice teachers, from a funds of knowledge perspective, in a community-based early childhood teacher preparation programme learned about the language and (bi)literacy development of young English emergent bilinguals. Through a series of in-depth home observations their early childhood education (ECE) coursework preservice teachers reflected on young children's literacy learning and family literacy practices. We followed case studies of six participating preservice teachers who were placed with families with children enrolled in preschool programmes as part of their field experience. A research team composed of two university professors and two graduate students gathered a variety of data during one academic year. Data sources include field notes, video and audio recordings and children's emergent literacy samples from six family home interactions by the preservice teachers with their assigned case study families. During these family home visits, preservice teachers conducted observations and documented their respective case study child's language development and the family's literacy practices. The focus of the analysis entailed an ongoing examination of how preservice teachers' reflections and the home family literacy interactions helped deepen their understanding of funds of knowledge and cultural practices. We found that their extensive and consistent experiences, interacting with the families for one academic year, allowed them to reflect on how their views of those interactions had evolved. In all cases, the preservice teachers we interviewed commented on how they appreciated having the opportunity to interact with the children, their parents and family in various nonschool-related contexts. For these preservice teachers, there was gradual, uneven and continuous learning about funds of knowledge that challenged the ways and possibilities of embracing this perspective as part of their professional experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-33
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • bilingual children
  • case studies
  • cultural diversity
  • early childhood education
  • early childhood literacy
  • home literacy environment
  • home–school practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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