The first issue in our Educare Insights series, this research brief focuses on Dual Language Learners (DLLs) – defined as children under five who are learning a second language while continuing to develop their first/home language. DLLs are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States and make up a significant proportion of children enrolled in ECE programs, including at Educare schools.
Research findings from the Educare Network on DLL children:
- Demonstrate the benefits of dual language learning opportunities in the classroom
- Indicate that increased use of Spanish (children’s home language) in the classroom was related to higher Spanish language outcomes compared to DLLs in classrooms where less Spanish was used
- Suggest that earlier enrollment in ECE programs and longer duration of program enrollment positively benefit DLL children’s outcomes
This brief summarizes Educare research findings, together with other research literature on DLLs, and provides insights into policies and best practices to foster the teaching, learning and development of young DLLs.
ECE leaders, practitioners, advocates, policymakers and funders should strive to expand access to ECE programs for DLLs, promote continued enrollment and ensure that programs have the resources and expertise necessary to support DLLs.