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Working with Children Whose Home Language is Other than English - The Teacher's Role

by Cecelia Alvarado
January/February 1996
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/working-with-children-whose-home-language-is-other-than-english-the-teachers-role/5010748/

Those of us who have worked in early childhood settings where our clients speak a language other than English know what a challenge this can be, particularly if our own teacher education did not include specific strategies and methods required to be effective in this situation.

Over the past 20 years, I have spent quite a bit of time reading the research on how young children acquire a second language, different models of care and education for these children, and the effects of different approaches on the involvement and goals of families. I have also visited scores of programs serving these children. Some have been monolingual English, some have focused only on the child's home language, and others have used a bilingual model. What I am presenting here are conclusions and recommendations for teachers and providers based on my experience and study.

As teachers, we want all children living in the United States to become fluent in English. Since research tells us that the most effective way to assure strong English language development in speakers of other languages is to begin first with a solid base in their home language, I believe that our first responsibility to a preschool child ...

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