Across Illinois, early childhood programs serve a very culturally and linguistically diverse group of children and families. The Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map (IECAM) provides a list of the 30 languages most commonly spoken or being learned by Illinois children birth through age 5 in 2015.
This data informs us that home visiting and early care and education practitioners are looking for high-quality materials to enhance the development of young dual language learners (DLLs). For some teachers and caregivers of young children, it is not unusual to encounter a variety of home languages spoken by children in their classrooms. The following three websites offer high-quality free resources that may be of interest to teachers and caregivers serving DLLs:
- Our Illinois Early Learning (IEL) Project website is available in both English and Spanish. We are committed to providing our resources in both languages. IEL offers free Tip Sheets on a variety of health and education topics that are of interest to families of young children. In addition to Spanish, all graphic Tip Sheets are available in Polish, Arabic, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and French. When early care and education practitioners provide families with Tip Sheets in their home language, they build relationships by demonstrating that they value each family’s cultural and linguistic background.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers materials in a number of languages. NAEYC’s Globally-Focused and Translated Blogs, Books and Articles contains links to resources in multiple languages. NAEYC also offers a web page focused on Dual Language Learners. Sharing these NAEYC resources with staff members working with dual language learners can enhance professional development activities where conversations about strategies for supporting language development may be shared.
- ¡Colorín Colorado! provides free materials for educators and families of English language learners. This website features lesson plans, videos, a resource library, books and authors, and specific resources for families about learning at home. Directors and teachers will find information about creating a welcoming atmosphere in your school.
As the population of young children who are DLLs increases in our state, the early childhood community stands ready to welcome each child and family. Our focus is to ensure that families are welcomed to early care and education programs and that we provide the necessary resources to help their children succeed in school and community settings.