Welcome New Neighbor, a collaboration between the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education and community partners that resettle and support people with refugee backgrounds in Burlington and nearby communities, comprises of initiatives that connect Teacher Candidates with multilingual children, youth, and their families in the families’ homes.
Our mission is to foster and sustain care in out-of-school contexts, such as families’ homes and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, as well as tap into and expand upon our empathy, through reading and responding to children’s literature, providing help with homework, and engaging in play and outdoor activities such as hiking and horseback riding.
Our motto is Learning With and From.
To pursue our mission, we believe:
- It is essential to care deeply for the communities and people that we serve. Specifically, we draw on Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz’s notion of critical love.
- In creating and sustaining relationships of care and dignity in out-of-school contexts, such as families’ homes and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, we can extend and reinvigorate languages, cultures, and stories with children, youth, and families.
- It is necessary to acknowledge and honor the broad range of language and literacy practices that occur in homes and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
- Reading and responding to children’s literature is equitable when the learning goals or pursuits of these shared reading sessions foreground identity development, skill and intellectual development, criticality, and joy. Specifically, we draw on Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s equity framework for culturally and historically responsive literacy.
- In their everyday lives, multilingual people engage in translanguaging as they use language varieties and navigate social boundaries.
What We Do