This blog is the first post in a new series about the DLL Pilot Community of Practice (CoP).
California finds itself at a moment of historic proportion and poised to make tremendous progress for the Golden State’s youngest learners. By capitalizing on a surge in state revenues and federal recovery funds, California is making strides to implement its Master Plan for Early Learning and Care by making massive expansions to its Early Learning and Care system. This includes the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten, alignment of the reimbursement rate structure, and increases to both the rates that child care providers receive and the number of subsidized child care slots that the state funds. Importantly, this moment is also one in which a racial awakening and emphasis on racial and social justice has become palpable. As Dual Language Learners (DLLs) make up 60% of California’s population of children age five and under, building a high-quality Early Learning and Care system for California’s youngest learners must build on the rich cultural and linguistic assets of DLL children and families to fully support them to reach their full potential, and incorporate a clear focus on supporting multilingualism.
Since 2016, First 5 California (F5CA) has funded a Dual Language Learner Pilot Study, investing $20 million to support 16 of California’s 58 counties in piloting strategies that improve education and care of DLLs in early care and education (ECE) settings. This study is in its third and final phase, which is aimed at providing resources to counties to expand the effective strategies their pilots identified, and to identify policy recommendations for scaling these strategies in California. To accomplish this work, representatives from the 16 participating County First 5 commissions are meeting monthly in a DLL Pilot Community of Practice.
On April 29, 2021, the DLL Pilot CoP came together to discuss two areas of focus for the CoP:
- Educator engagement, preparation, and professional development (PD)
- Improving systems of support for DLLs (systems change)
Members prioritized the following topics:
- Culturally and linguistically relevant, and individualized DLL training that integrates learning into practice.
- How to reach Family Child Care (FCC) providers and Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers with tailored and helpful trainings and PD.
- Strengthening families’ role in home language development and cultural pride, and messaging dual language competency as an asset.
- Raising families’ awareness of the benefits of dual language programs and their right to request dual language programs in their district through Proposition 58.
- Learning how other states/systems have focused on DLLs.
CoP members using virtual collaboration platform to brainstorm and share their hopes and expectations for the Community of Practice meeting series scheduled monthly through April 2022.
This blog will be updated regularly to share the emerging lessons learned, needed resources, and policy recommendations coming from the DLL Pilot CoP meetings. Learn more about the First 5 CA DLL Pilot.