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7 High-Quality Early Childhood Curriculum for Multilingual Learners
Pages 244-277

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From page 244...
... . This gap between what is known about how curriculum can best meet the needs multilingual learners and what occurs in ECE programs is influenced by multiple factors: • misperceptions about the value of languages other than English leading to a "deficit" view of multilingual learners; • misconceptions about the capacity of all young children to learn and benefit from exposure to multiple languages from birth; • inadequate and inconsistent methods for identifying who is a multilingual learner during the preschool years; • insufficient access to ECE curricula available in languages other than in English, with little attention to needs of multilingual learners; • educational goals that do not include the importance of early bilingualism; • lack of widespread, common understanding of practical instructional methods and strategies in ECE that promote early bilingualism and academic skills; • inappropriate assessment instruments and methods that do not include the language competencies or knowledge of multilingual learners in languages other than English; • lack of qualified bilingual ECE professionals; and • flawed research on the development and achievement of multilingual learners.
From page 245...
... . More than 140 languages have been identified within the Head Start child population, with nearly 90% of all Head Start classrooms serving multilingual learners and many serving a population representing more than three different home languages (U.S.
From page 246...
... In fact, across the globe, many countries explicitly require all young children to become bilingual or multilingual, with most adults speaking more than one language (Klingert, 2023) ; these include European Union countries, which require that all children learn at least two languages in addition to their home language (European Parliament, 2023)
From page 247...
... Family members' beliefs differ as to how exposure to English and continued use of the home language affects their children's language learning and academic success (Billings, 2022)
From page 248...
... Finally, the extent to which ECE curricula provide learning experiences in multilingual learners' two or more languages are important features of their early development that impact later school success. Several research studies have indicated that the exposure of preschoolers and school-age children to their home language contributes to the enhancement of their language development.
From page 249...
... . A National Academies report, Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English, provides a synthesis of research on the development and achievement of dual language learners from birth to age 21 (NASEM, 2017)
From page 250...
... Strategies for Supporting Dual Language Development • While learning English, DLLs should also be supported in maintaining their home language in preschool and early school years with the goal of achieving full proficiency in both languages; • The language development of dual language learners (DLLs) improves when adults engage in frequent, responsive, and diverse language interactions.
From page 251...
... . An enriching language environment during the first years of 19 The term "long-term English language learners" refers to a "formal educational classification" designated to students who have been enrolled in American schools for more than six years, who are not progressing toward English proficiency, and who are struggling academically due to their limited English skills" (Grazzini, 2019, p.
From page 252...
... , skills that, in turn, contribute to enhanced executive function in individuals learning multiple languages. A report from the National Academies emphasizes that children who have the opportunity to develop proficiency in two or more languages early in life gain the ability to communicate in multiple languages and may experience advancements in certain cognitive skills, leading to improved academic outcomes in school (NASEM, 2017, p.
From page 253...
... Early, balanced exposure to dual languages, with at least 40% of the time dedicated to each language, is linked to high proficiency in both languages and improved longterm academic achievement for multilingual learners. From an educational standpoint, this research suggests that very young children can acquire proficiency in two languages earlier than previously believed (Kuhl, 2011)
From page 254...
... . Moreover, recent studies examining the duration required for dual-language learners to achieve full proficiency in English have highlighted the importance of robust language skills in both the home language and English at the onset of kindergarten.
From page 255...
... Robust proficiency in the home language, coupled with English language skills, seems to be the most effective groundwork for success in both early and later stages of schooling. The findings also provide insights into early bilingual learning that have implications for important elements of high quality ECE curricula for multilingual learners.
From page 256...
... . Although no statistics are currently available on the percentage of multilingual learners who enter ECE programs with a home language other than English and achieve a Seal of Biliteracy at graduation, it makes sense to track these early pathways to full biliteracy.
From page 257...
... are rarely developed specifically for multilingual learners, but more commonly developed for English-speaking children and then translated into other languages with supplementary materials that are culturally responsive to the community in which the program is located, and sometimes include suggested adaptations for different groups of multilingual learners. Consequently, the research literature on effective curricula for multilingual learners is focused primarily on studies of amounts of home language and English used (Figueras-Daniel & Li, 2021; Hammer et al, 2014; Raikes et al., 2019; Sembiante et al., 2022; White et al., 2023)
From page 258...
... Identifying Multilingual Learners During Preschool While several federal programs encourage states to collect data on multilingual learners and establish home language survey policies, most states lack policies or consistent procedures for identifying who is and who is not a multilingual learner during the preschool years. The federal Head Start program requires programs to provide data on the linguistic background of the children and families they serve and offers guidance on how to collect important information from families (Lazarin and Park, 2021)
From page 259...
... The identification of dual language learners will help improve program quality and inform the allocation and use of state and program resources to better support them and their linguistic and developmental needs for success in school and in life. The legislation also instructs ECE providers to help families understand the benefits of multilingualism and the important role of the home language in supporting English development; it also encourages families to continue supporting the ongoing development of the home language, with additional resources available to families in multiple languages.
From page 260...
... • English with home language support: This classroom language model is appropriate when most teachers and staff speak English primarily and some of the children speak languages other than English in the home as their first language. In this model, the language of instruction is mostly English, but the staff make intentional efforts to bring the children's different languages and cultures into the classroom.
From page 261...
... strong language skills that serve as a foundation for second language development, supporting age-level development in English over time… Experienc[ing] their home language as a positive source of strength and knowledge and as a connection between home and school" (Office of Head Start, 2015 , p.
From page 262...
... SOURCE: Summarized from NASEM, 2017 (Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures.) Evaluations of Curricula and Multilinguals Other than positing that the elements of high-quality ECE curriculum also apply to multilingual learners but require linguistic and instructional adaptations, the contributions of specific curricula to the growth and development of multilingual learners has not been studied independently from the impacts of specific language practices or instructional strategies (Castro et al., 2011; López & Paez, 2020; see Chapter 4 for more detailed information)
From page 263...
... Thus, for multilingual preschoolers, Englishimmersion programs been shown to impede their potential for early bilingualism while not accelerating their English acquisition. Teaching Strategies and Instructional Practices for Multilingual Learners The most frequently used classroom language model in ECE classrooms serving multilingual learners is primarily English with some amount of home language support (OlivaOlson, 2019)
From page 264...
... Thus, it appears that when ECE educators are not proficient in multilingual learners' home languages and unfamiliar with their family cultures, English with home language support strategies promote better language and literacy growth than English only, but balanced duallanguage programs promote the most growth in both English and multilingual learners' home languages. Teacher–Child Relationships Central to all preschool children's feelings of security and safety are the nature and quality of their relationships with the important adults in their lives, namely parents and teachers.
From page 265...
... In those Head Start classrooms where teachers spoke to the children more often in their home language (in this case, Spanish) , the children also showed larger gains in Spanish language learning and positive approaches to learning.
From page 266...
... It is also essential that ECE educators understand the process of secondlanguage acquisition during the preschool years and the characteristics of the multilingual learners' home languages and cultural practices so they can make judgments about each students' progress and whether a referral for in-depth language assessment is warranted. An appropriate approach to the assessment of multilingual learners consists of both formal and informal methods (Espinosa, & Zepeda, 2019)
From page 267...
... balanced English and home language, and 2) English language development with home language support -- and their structures and strategies.
From page 268...
... Identifying multilingual learners during the preschool years and providing targeted, linguistically and culturally affirming services will enable program implementers and policy makers to demonstrate the benefits of a strengths-based approach that celebrates and values home language abilities and cultural knowledge as assets rather than liabilities. As the field of ECE is populated primarily with English-speaking teachers and administrators, it will be critical to provide professional development on the methods and strategies that all staff can implement to support both home language maintenance and 22 Children exposed to proficient speakers of their first and second language (L1 and L2)
From page 269...
... . Enhancing young Hispanic dual language learners' achievement: exploring strategies and addressing challenges (Policy Information Report, ETS Research Report No.
From page 270...
... Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, Center for Early Care and Education Research -- Dual Language Learners. Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL)
From page 271...
... . Early education for dual language learners: Promoting school readiness and early school success.
From page 272...
... . Early education for dual language learners: Promoting school readiness and early school success.
From page 273...
... . A Deeper Look at Classroom Language Approaches and How They Relate to Language Skills and Other Outcomes for Dual Language Learners.
From page 274...
... . Spanish instruction in head start and dual language learners' academic achievement.
From page 275...
... . Use of the home language in preschool classrooms and first-and second-language development among dual-language learners.
From page 276...
... . Academic and English language outcomes for DLLs as a function of school bilingual education model: The role of two-way immersion and home language support.
From page 277...
... . Earlier mastery of English predicts 5th Grade academic outcomes for low-income dual language learners in Miami, USA.


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