Early Childhood Programs for Language Minority Children [NCBE Focus: Occasional Papers in Bilingual Education, Number 2]
Early childhood programs should be designed to serve the whole child's development within the context of the family and community. This is especially important for children who speak a language other than English at home. Programs must employ developmentally and culturally appropriate practices that respect individual differences and choices and that incorporate the family and home culture. Research points to the benefits of a cognitive/developmental approach that fosters not only intellectual learning, but also physical, social, and emotional learning. This approach is particularly appropriate for language minority children. Experiences are provided in environments that accept each child's individual development. Because developmental milestones and expectations vary from culture to culture, early childhood educators need to understand the cultural values of families and their goals for socialization, beliefs about the nature of the child, and child-rearing techniques. Teachers need to recognize developmentally equivalent milestones and patterns of behavior, use interactive styles familiar to the child, reinforce family values that promote learning, and deal directly with differences in cultural patterns between home and school. Parents should be consulted about every aspect of their children's program. Training in cross-cultural communication and in promoting positive home-school-community relationships should be included in all staff training for early childhood educators.
Helen Nissani. Early Childhood Programs for Language Minority Children [NCBE Focus: Occasional Papers in Bilingual Education, Number 2] (1990). NCELA [National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition]: Washington, DC.
Sponsoring Agency: OBEMLA, U.S. Dept. of Education
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NCELA [National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition]URL: http://www.ncela.ed.gov
George Washington University
Center for the Study of Language and Education
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