New training for California preschool teachers to help bilingual children prepare for kindergarten
EdSource article highlights the $5 million in professional development training opportunities for early learning teachers of dual language learners (DLLs) that Early Edge California helped to include in 2018-19 state budget.
For the first time, the California Department of Education awarded $5 million through the Dual Language Learners Professional Development Grant to six organizations that train Early Learning teachers who work with DLLs. In the past, teacher training for bilingual children has been focused on K-12 programs. The funding was made possible through efforts by Early Edge California in collaboration with other advocacy partners and Assemblymember Reyes.
Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) is one of the organizations that received the grant to train Early Learning teachers across the state. Laurie Olsen, founder and strategic adviser of the SEAL program said she has seen real changes in classrooms where teachers have taken the training. “Kids talk more,” she said. “They’re producing a lot more language and a lot more complex academic language.” Children in classrooms with SEAL-trained teachers often have fewer behavior problems, because they are more engaged and excited about what they’re learning.
“These are very exciting times,” said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge California, a nonprofit organization that advocates for young children and is helping the California Department of Education implement the grant. “We’ve come so far in recognizing the benefits of speaking more than one language. All kids benefit from learning two languages. Hopefully California will be a leader in implementing this everywhere.”