In an ESL elementary classroom, it is important to have many tools available to help your students learn English and be comfortable in the language.
Teachers should use as many visual cues as possible. In a first or second grade classroom, teachers may want to label furniture and centers at eye level, with pictures of the activity. This helps young readers as well. For both classroom management purposes and for clarification for ESL students in upper elementary classes, teachers may want to write the classroom rules with their students. Teachers may ask students to model correct and incorrect behavior, which helps ESL students pick up on language through physical and visual cues.
Lower elementary classes may start with a simple story about feelings. I knew one first grade teacher who created a large heart out of paper, and stuffed it. She asked students to first say things that hurt their heart and had them hit the paper heart. Then, she asked the students to say things to make the heart feel good, and wrote their names on a band-aid and had the students place their names somewhere on the heart that was hurt. She had the students promise to say things to each other to make the heart feel good and not hurt it. Again, these kind of visual and physical activities can be very helpful in drawing in students and making sure that all students understand.
Teachers should also explain explicitly to ESL students who are starting out ways for them to pick up the language. Explain correlations between pictures and words by walking them around the classroom on their first visit and explaining centers. Always make an effort to tie visuals to language, either through gestures or pictures.
Teachers should also have a word wall and encourage students to use personal dictionaries. These can be used for spelling words, but there should also be a place for the student to get the new words translated into their native language. If this isn't possible, then again, pictures can be helpful for clarification.
The first few days of school can be nerve wracking for any parent, but especially for a parent who is putting their child in a new language environment. Teachers should be open to having an opportunity for parents to come by during the school year to share their culture with the class. This can help break the ice in the classroom, and help bridge cultural gaps. If teachers do not suggest this, parents should offer to show a craft, a dance, or offer to cook some traditional food.
At home, parents should read with their child every night. Even if they do not speak (much) English, early elementary books should be manageable and are important for literacy development.
Parents may also ask for things to do at home that can help enrich the skills learned at school. Early grades don't always have homework, but bringing lessons home can be fruitful for all involved. For example, if your child is working on counting in school, give them a task like counting all the socks in the house.
What is most fundamentally important is that parents and teachers communicate. Even if the parents are not strong in English, they should find ways of expressing what is needed to help their child. And teachers are just as responsible for providing resources and ideas for enriching content at home and continuing the language learning process.
Hope these tips help! I wish you a good start to the school year!