Incorporating Cultural Themes to Promote Preschoolers’ Critical Thinking in American Indian Head Start Classrooms

Connecting to cultural traditions enhances opportunities for parents to participate in their roles as their children’s primary teachers. Teaching teams, including parents and families may use this resource to understand how culturally relevant experiences help children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This resource offers steps to designing a culture-based inquiry unit that may be adapted to any community.

Multicultural Principles for Early Childhood Leaders

Head Start programs are effective when their systems and services support the cultural diversity of enrolled families. Furthermore, individual staff members must be able to demonstrate their respect for and respond to the different cultures in their community and among their co-workers. The following resource provides recent research and perspectives on key multicultural principles and offers guidance to staff on how to implement these principles in their programs.

The Importance of Home Language Series

School readiness and school success for children who are dual language learners are tied directly to mastery of their home language. This series of handouts is designed to provide staff and families with basic information on topics related to children learning two or more languages. They emphasize the benefits of being bilingual, the importance of maintaining home language, and the value of becoming fully bilingual. These easy-to-read resources highlight important information that every adult living or working with young dual language learners should know.

Cultural Backgrounders on Various Refugee and Cultural Groups New to the United States

This series of resources provide general cultural information on various refugee and cultural groups new to the United States. It is always best to get to know each family and learn their individual characteristics, as every family is unique and cultural practices vary by household and by generation. These resources provide basic information to help staff begin discussions with families and communities.

DEC Position Statement on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness

For young learners of English who are speakers of other languages (ESOL), the challenges of literacy and language development are different if they are learning in an all-English environment where they need the language to function in school, or if they are in an environment where English is taught as a foreign language (EFL) in school. This position paper from the Division of Early Childhood focuses on children who speak a language other than English at home, and who are entering school environments where English is the principal medium of instruction.

Highlights for Teaching Children Who Are Dual Language Learners (DLLs)

This resource highlights strategies discussed in the Head Start Science Teacher's Guide that teaching teams may use to help children learn their home language in addition to English. Teachers are encouraged to focus on language and literacy skills as integral to the exploration of science topics in the natural world. Specific suggestions from the Guide provide evidence-based practices that are effective for working with dual language learners in Head Start programs.

Dual Language Learners Toolkit

Administrators, practitioners, and families, who support young children learning their home languages and English, find helpful resources. These can help programs implement an intentional approach to language use.