Dual Language Learner Pilot Study

Over 60% of children birth-5 in the state of California are dual language learners (DLLs). While the field has advanced considerably in understanding dual language development and education, much work still needs to be done to identify the best practices that support young DLLs in early learning and care settings.

Through this study, we worked to understand and evaluate best practices for DLLs in three primary areas:

Instructional Practices

Teachers play a key role in young, DLL children’s development and learning. They are tasked with the important job of providing early learning opportunities that take into account the diverse language and cultural backgrounds of their students and acknowledge their unique strengths. We aim to identify, understand, and provide evidence for culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices, such as home language use and targeted teaching strategies, that best promote outcomes for DLLs.

Professional development

Early childhood professionals require consistent training, support, and resources to do their job effectively, especially when working with diverse populations. When it comes to DLLs, educators need high-quality, intentional support that provides them with the knowledge, confidence, and practical strategies they need to best support DLLs. We strive to understand the aspects of professional development that will help teachers provide high-quality learning experiences for DLLs.

Family engagement

Families are critical in supporting DLLs’ learning from birth. They provide young DLLs with the first early experiences that can help promote home language development. When families engage with schools, together they can form strong connections and partnerships that build on DLLs children’s language and cultural strengths and optimize their learning. We strive to identify and understand effective approaches to engaging families of young DLLs in early education.