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Recent early education news and updates

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Supporting Dual Language Learners in Early Learning Settings


June 3, 2016
AccessEnglish Language LearnersOutcomesQuality and CurriculumUniversal and Targeted
The White House
The White House

Today the White House is announcing a new Federal policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education on better supporting our country’s youngest dual language learners (DLLs) in early childhood programs. The Obama Administration will be joined by public and private sector organizations that will also announce new commitments to support DLLs. Additionally, the White House, in collaboration with Too Small to Fail and Invest in US, is holding a regional convening today at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, FL to highlight the importance of supporting our country’s DLLs in early childhood programs.

Data indicate that about one in five school-aged children speak a language other than English at home, a figure that has more than doubled in the past few decades. Estimates suggest that this number may be even higher for learners under the age of six; for example, nearly a third of children in Head Start programs are DLLs. Research with young DLLs clearly reflects that children’s bilingual skill development promotes overall language development and should be encouraged.

The Federal policy statement being released today recognizes the cultural and linguistic assets of this population of children, and provides important resources and recommendations to the early childhood field to ensure that our nation’s early education programs are accessible to these families, and that they appropriately foster the learning and development of this large and growing group of children. Today’s announcements also mark progress on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which aims to ensure that all young people, including children of color, can reach their full potential.