Dual Language Learners

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The languages children speak at home and the cultures of their families deeply inform how they experience the world. More and more, our youngest children live in households with at least one immigrant parent – and many speak multiple languages.

In their earliest years, we call these individuals dual language learners, or DLLs, because they are developing unique language skills in two languages at the same time. Young children are primed in their early years to learn distinct languages and interpret the world through these languages. And recent studies tell us that by supporting their home language, we can improve their second language development.

The Foundation’s new Dual Language Learners portfolio aims to move DLLs from the periphery to the core of early childhood education discussions, with the hopes of yielding deeper public investment, and learning gains for DLL children.

To meet these goals, our grantees strive to engender a shift in the early childhood field from viewing DLLs through a deficit-based lens to an asset-based one; deepen understanding in the field of what DLLs need to effectively learn in the early years; advance policy analysis, advocacy, and implementation that advance home language and culture as assets for DLL teaching and learning; and support workforce development and professional learning programs that better prepare educators and administrators to support DLLs’ learning through third grade.

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Photo courtesy of New America
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