Learning English While a Parent

Imagine moving to a new country as a parent and trying to support your young children with their education in a new culture. Now imagine facing this challenge when you are not yet fluent in the local language. Thousands of immigrant parents in Boston face this challenge every year. Fortunately, ABCD offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for Parents and Caregivers classes with specific funding and curriculum support from English for New Bostonians (ENB) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Founded in 2001 as a public-private-community collaborative spearheaded by the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, English for New Bostonians has been independently incorporated since 2014. The organization funds ESOL programs, supports the development of specialized ESOL curricula, conducts research, and elevates immigrants’ voices to advocate for greater funding for ESOL programs. Its specialized curricula include ESOL for Parents and Caregivers and ESOL for Entrepreneurs, which focuses on English language skills and basic business practices for small business owners.

ABCD’s South Side ESOL program was one of the first programs to receive ENB funding in 2001 and currently uses ENB’s ESOL for Parents and Caregivers curriculum in its morning classes. While building the parents’ skills in English, the curriculum also helps them learn about supporting their children’s learning and navigating Boston Public Schools (BPS). Students in these classes also receive support in career and job development. To bring additional resources to parents, the ESOL for Parents classes have collaborated with organizations such as WGBH, Appalachian Mountain Club, and most recently, Raising a Reader. Many of the students have children in ABCD’s Head Start program, and two of these parents have gone on to become Head Start staff. The demand for these classes far exceeds the program’s capacity, with a waitlist sometimes more than double the number of available slots. ABCD is very grateful for ENB’s ongoing support for this program.

If you or someone you know wants more information about the South Side ESOL program, call Lisa Garrone at 617-327-1152 ext. 204, or email her at lisa.garrone@bostonabcd.org. To learn more about ENB, CLICK HERE.