Culture and Language

ELLs in Early Childhood Education: Recruiting Immigrant Families

Ongoing outreach to recruit and enroll immigrant families is essential, but can be challenging. Family service staff would benefit from the recruitment strategies listed in this article as well as an explanation of some of the challenges immigrant families face. All program staff could benefit from the helpful tips for creating a welcoming environment for immigrant children and families.

This is Part I of a two-part series about ELLs and early childhood education. Part II, focusing on early childhood education program models and methods of instruction, will be published by Colorín Colorado in the fall.

"When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become."
— Louis Pasteur

Recently I had a conversation with the director of an early childhood program in a large urban school district. She expressed concern that there were three early childhood sites designated specifically to meet the needs of low-income students in the community, and that even though many local immigrant families qualified for enrollment, they didn't send their children to the school. She asked for my opinion on how the department and sites could better recruit immigrant families and enroll more English language learners (ELLs) who would benefit greatly from the program. It occurred to me that although the benefits of preschool programs are well documented, particularly for ELLs, there are additional issues that must be taken into consideration in order to effectively recruit and meet the needs of immigrant families in early childhood education centers. These issues range from socioeconomic status and program access to culture and language. Read the full document