Environments should support rich language development through hands-on, inquiry-based, content rich learning. It is also important to create a learning environment that is culturally and linguistically responsive and representative of the ML children in the classroom to demonstrate that their language and cultural backgrounds are valued and to help them feel comfortable. ML students should be able to “see” themselves in the classroom. Interventions that integrate ML-specific classroom materials, such as the ones listed below, with dual language-specific instructional strategies, have been shown to be effective in promoting ML students’ learning (e.g., Buysse et al., 2010; Castro et al., 2017; Duran et al., 2015; Simon-Cereijido et al., 2014). It is important that these materials are not only present, but also actively used in instruction and easily accessible to children for their own use. Creating an environment where multilingualism and diverse cultures are valued is important for all children.

Evidence-Based Strategies and Resources

Include labels and other functional print in the home language. Make sure home language print is viewed as “equal” to English print (e.g., make labels the same size in both languages).

  • Linked Resources


Provide books in the home language and books that depict the cultural and linguistic background of children in a positive light. Make sure children of each language and cultural background can see themselves represented in the classroom.

  • Linked Resources


Display and provide culturally relevant materials, including family pictures and cultural items from children’s homes. Include families in helping to select books, objects, and materials to display in the classrooms.

  • Linked Resources


Buysse, V., Castro, D. C., & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (2010). Effects of a professional development program on classroom practices and outcomes for Latino dual language learners. Early Childhood Research Quarterly25(2), 194-206.

Castro, D. C., Gillanders, C., Franco, X., Bryant, D. M., Zepeda, M., Willoughby, M. T., & Méndez, L. I. (2017). Early education of dual language learners: An efficacy study of the Nuestros Niños School Readiness professional development program. Early Childhood Research Quarterly40, 188-203.

Durán, L., Roseth, C. J., & Hoffman, P. (2015). Effects of transitional bilingual education on Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ literacy and language development: Year 2 results. Applied Psycholinguistics36(4), 921-951.

Simon-Cereijido, G., & Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. F. (2014). Bilingual education for all: Latino dual language learners with language disabilities. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism17(2), 235-254.