Early development of dual language learners has proven to lead to improved reading, writing and school success. High quality early learning for dual language learners has warranted powerful results from not only children, but educators and parents as well.
Last week, early childhood advocates, representatives from the business and scientific research community and leaders from the Obama administration came together at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, FL to support and discuss current challenges and future actions necessary to improve the early learning experiences of dual language learners. The White House, Too Small to Fail and Invest in US campaign co-hosted the event which gave early childhood supporters an overview on the current state of early learning for dual language learners and gave opinions on what the next steps to improve education are.
Roberto Rodriquez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education, announced a new federal policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education on better support for our country’s youngest dual language learners in early childhood.
Additionally, Kara Dukakis, Director of Too Small to Fail, made an announcement of the expansion of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” public awareness and action campaign. “Talking is Teaching” is a multimedia campaign focused on helping parents realize their power to help their children improve their vocabulary through simple actions each day.
The event also offered several opportunities for parents and other advocates for high quality dual language environments to learn more about how dual language development affects children, parents and society. Dr. Naja Ferjan Ramirez from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences discussed how bilingualism leads to strengthened brain development. And Sylvia Acevedo, member of the President’s Commission on Education Excellence for Hispanics, examined how bilingualism positively impacts the US economy. Acevedo presented evidence on how dual language learners achieve greater success throughout their educational career and earn more in the labor market.
The event cumulated with First Five Years Fund Executive Director, Kris Perry moderating a panel on community support and public-private investment in early childhood for dual language learners, which included Evelio Torres, President and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe and Amaya Garcia, a senior researcher from the New America Foundation. The panel discussed not only how important dual language learning is for children and the adults who care for them in early childhood settings, but also some of the misconceptions surrounding DLL students in general. Additionally, Amaya shared a new brief from New America’s dual Language Leaners National Work group, which explores opportunities for licensing bilingual paraprofessionals as lead teachers.
Check out FFYF’s Storify of the event here.
For more information on Invest In US, visit www.investinus.org