Teachers, Caregivers, and Family Services Staff
Home language support is the foundation for developing English language skills. Today’s early childhood 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 children by holding high expectations and emphasizing their strengths, including cultural and linguistic strengths. We also provide children and their families with the individualized learning supports necessary to succeed in school. All early childhood program staff want to understand what young dual language learners (DLLs) need in order to thrive in Head Start and beyond. These DLL Toolkit resources give teachers, caregivers, and family services staff support to foster the learning and development of young children.
Importance of Home Language
Discover basic strategies teachers, caregivers, and family service staff can use with young children and their families to support home language development. Research indicates that supporting bilingualism from early ages can have wide ranging benefits, from cognitive and social advantages early in life to long-term employment opportunities and competitiveness in the workplace later in life.
- Home Language for Success in School and Life | Spanish (español)
- The Importance of Home Language Series | Spanish (español)
- Gathering and Using Language Information that Families Share
- Talk, Read and Sing Together Every Day! The Benefits of Being Bilingual – A Review for Teachers and Other Early Education Program Providers [PDF, 126KB] │ Spanish (español) [PDF, 134KB]
Science to Practice
Explore the latest science around dual language learners' (DLLs) linguistic development. Learn ways to support DLLs in the first five years. Each brief contains a discussion of recent bilingual research. They also include tips that teachers, caregivers, and family service staff can use to build on DLLs' skills.
Support Learning English
Strategies for Caregivers and Teachers: How Caregivers and Teachers Support
- Alphabet Knowledge and Early Writing [PDF, 1.2MB] | Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.3MB]
- Background Knowledge [PDF, 1.3MB] | Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.6MB]
- Book Knowledge and Print Concepts [PDF, 1.2MB] | Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.2MB]
- Oral Language and Vocabulary [PDF, 1.2MB] | Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.1MB]
- Phonological Awareness [PDF, 1.3MB] | Spanish (español) [PDF, 1.1MB]
Specific Strategies to Support DLLs When Adults Do Not Speak Their Language
Find tips classroom staff and home visitors can use when they do not speak the languages of the children in their care:
- Creating Environments that Include Children's Home Languages and Cultures
- What the Research Tells Us
- Including Children' Home Languages and Cultures
- Inviting and Supporting Cultural Guides and Home Language Models
- Language Modeling with Dual Language Learning Infants
- Language Modeling with Dual Language Learning Toddlers
- Planning and Organizing Thematic Instruction
- Supporting Dual Language Learners with Classroom Schedules and Transitions
- Supporting English Language Development When Children Have Little Experience with English
- Code Switching: Why It Matters and How to Respond │Spanish (español)
- How to Use Bilingual Books │ Spanish (español)
- Selecting Culturally Appropriate Children's Books in Languages Other Than English │ Spanish (español)
- Selecting and Using Culturally Responsive Children's Books
This series of resources provides 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.
Ways to Use Cultural Backgrounders Use this tool to assist programs in making use of the four Cultural Backgrounders. It provides basic information to help staff begin discussions, relationships, and partnerships with immigrant and refugee families from Burma, Iraq, Somalia, and Eastern Nepal (Bhutanese). Also available in Spanish (español)
Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development This handbook provides families with information on six themes: family well-being, health and safety, healthy brain development, early learning and school readiness, guidance and discipline, and family engagement in early care and education. Programs serving refugee families, newly arrived immigrant families, and others may use this resource with parents to help ease their transition to a new country. Available in Arabic (العربية) and Spanish (español).
Ways to Use the Handbook Ways to Use Raising Young Children in a New Country: Supporting Early Learning and Healthy Development Handbook is a tool designed to support Head Start and Early Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS), Refugee Resettlement staff, and other early care and education providers in using and applying concepts from the Handbook. It includes staff self-reflection activities, team planning strategies, and approaches to family engagement. Available in Arabic (العربية) and Spanish (español).
Last Reviewed: July 2016
Last Updated: March 2, 2017