Administrators and Managers Support Dual Language Learners

Early childhood programs and staff must be prepared to enhance experiences for a growing number of young children who are learning their home languages and English. We can promote positive experiences for these dual language learners (DLLs) by holding high expectations and emphasizing their strengths, including cultural and linguistic strengths. Staff also provide children and their families with individualized learning supports necessary to succeed in school. These DLL Toolkit resources can help program directors and managers better support the learning and development of young children. Program managers and administrators can build systems and develop policies to improve practices across all service delivery areas by identifying and implementing a planned, intentional approach to language use in the classroom.

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.

Culture and Language

Across early childhood systems and programs, managers and staff must be prepared to enhance experiences for the growing number of young children who are learning their home languages and English.

Making It Work! Connecting Cultural Learning Experiences in American Indian and Alaska Native Classrooms and Communities with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework

Adults have always taught children the skills and values that they need to succeed as adults in their culture. The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) calls these the "domains of early learning." When early childhood programs connect their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways with the ELOF domains, children develop math, literacy, social-emotional, self-help, and other skills. The Making It Work! resource is a planning process that supports American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs to teach their language and culture while meeting Head Start requirements.

Office of Head Start Tribal Language Report 2012

In 2010 – 11, the Office of Head Start (OHS) began an effort to learn about the successes, progress, and challenges faced by a number of large and small tribal communities in various stages of preserving, revitalizing, or reclaiming their tribal language. Information was gathered from tribal leaders, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Head Start leaders, tribal language and culture experts, and researchers during informal discussions with a select number of Tribes and grantees and at formal gatherings including the OHS Tribal Consultations and the OHS Tribal Language Preservation and Revitalization Roundtable.

Code Switching: Why It Matters and How to Respond

One-third of the children in Head Start and Early Head Start are dual language learners (DLLs) who are learning English while also learning their home language. Virtually all of these children will code switch. In other words, they mix two or more languages in the same sentence while speaking. It is important that teachers, home visitors, and other staff understand what code switching is, the role it plays in language development, and how to respond to it.