Order Now and get FREE Shipping to all 50 states!

English Language Learners and Head Start

0 FlaresFilament.ioMade with FlareMore Info'>0 Flares×

Monday I proposed additional blogs about this critical situation for our young children. As stated, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2030 Latino children will make up twenty-five percent of the total student population in our country. Head Start is seeing this change beginning in 2007 with twenty-six percent of children enrolled in Head Start Pre-K programs that speak Spanish and are classified as dual language learners. Also, we learned from a recent Head Start report that these Spanish-speaking children come from different Latino countries, which means that translation and support can be problematic for Head Start teachers. Sadly, there are no solid research findings to inform us as to how children can maintain their native language and acquire English.

The Head Start Act of 2007 requires programs to try to support the “cultural backgrounds” of Head Start children. Children are to be screened within 45 days of enrollment to determine a child’s linguistic background. The Office of Head Start is providing language institutes and webinars to provide technical support for the programs. The University of North Carolina recently received a $4.5 million grant to open a dual language learner center for conducting research to provide answers to the methodology that should be used.

Lastly, a major challenge is hiring and retaining Head Start personnel who are bilingual. Some programs are paying higher and implementing ways to attract these individuals to Head Start. Many programs are addressing dual language learners in a variety of ways. I am happy to see the attention being paid to this very important issue. Let’s hope we obtain good research findings from the North Carolina center to make sure that what we are doing is correct.

About Susan Gunnewig

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published