Dual Language Learners (DLLs) are prominent in the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care through an assets-based framing. The Master Plan states, “Embracing dual language learners is a prime example of how inclusivity can drive better outcomes for all children. Research shows that learning more than one language is highly beneficial to young children evidenced by greater cognitive, social, and emotional and academic skills. DLLs make up 60% of California’s young children, providing the state with a great opportunity to foster a host of better child outcomes by considering language as part of equity in EarlyLearning and care (p. 15).”
An accompanying knowledge brief, Promoting Equitable Early Learning and Care for Dual Language Learners, which includes in-depth recommendations that build upon our DLL Policy Platform, was also released and was used to inform the development of the Master Plan recommendations.
The main DLL-specific recommendations, which are in alignment with our DLL Policy Platform, are outlined below:
Goal 1: Unify and Strengthen Programs and Services to Support Children’s Learning and Development
- DLL Identification: Require identification and reporting of the language status of children from birth through five years in subsidized early learning and care (disaggregated by age, race, ethnicity, language, and disability); provider language status and qualifications; and, characteristics of the program setting, including language of instruction, and quality levels, if known.
- DLL Focus in Quality Efforts: Ensure that continuous quality efforts reflect Early Learning guidelines that address the unique needs of DLLs (i.e., a programmatic approach).
- DLL Training and Preparation Requirement: Require specialized training and development to address dual language development. These requirements should be embedded in standards for licensure and the Child Development Permit.
- Update Early Learning Guidelines with DLL Focus: Update Early Learning foundations, curriculum frameworks, program guidelines, and culturally responsive pedagogical materials to strengthen dual language strategies.
- Update English Learner Roadmap to Address Birth to Age Three to fully address the learning and development continuum for DLLs, acknowledging that language development begins at birth.
- Bilingual Materials and Resources: Provide bilingual materials and resources for early learning and care professionals working with DLL children and families.
- DLL Data: Collect and use data to support DLLs. Identification, assessment, and progress monitoring on language development for DLLs varies by funding stream (e.g., Head Start, State Preschool, private) and is limited by a lack of DLL-specific measures and tools to monitor instruction and learning for DLLs. Legislation could require monitoring through data collection of developmental assessments in English and in the child’s home language (e.g., Desired Results for Developmental Profile or other assessments).
- Provide California’s Three- and Four-Year-Olds with Access to a High-Quality Preschool Experience
- Bilingual Teacher Requirement: Require bilingual teachers in programs with a high concentration of dual language learner (DLL) children who speak a common home language. Comparable qualifications for Assistant and Associate Teachers.
- Bilingual Program Requirement: For both three- and four-year olds, require support and provision of bilingual programs in areas with a high concentration of DLL children who share a common language.
- DLL-specific Professional Learning and Development: Provide a robust system of ongoing professional development with coaching to support teacher practices (e.g., DLL).
Goal 2: Support Children’s Learning and Development by Enhancing Educator Competencies, Incentivizing and Funding Career Pathways, and Implementing Supportive Program Standards
- Foundational DLL Competency Requirement: The ability to use best practices to support DLLs is identified as a foundational competency for the entire workforce. Includes expanding the Teacher Performance Expectations (TPE) to better reflect the expectations to meet the needs of DLLs.
- DLL Incentives and Recognition: Provide tiered incentives and recognition, including within a level of the matrix. New certifications signaling special expertise (e.g., dual language learner [DLL]), permits, educational attainment, and degrees can also help incentivize professionals to pursue additional training and development, while helping them better serve the children in their care.
- Revise workforce standards as part of revisions to licensing, program, and funding standards to include DLL focus: Identify critical child development training topics for family child care homes, license settings, and nonfamilial FFN providers that receive a public subsidy. Topics should include knowledge of development and learning that is culturally and linguistically informed and language development for DLLs.
- Online Platform with DLL Focus: Continue to develop a robust online professional learning platform, building on current funding from PDG-R and CCDF. The development process will yield a platform that ensures the full workforce has access to content on critical topics, including child development and learning that is culturally and linguistically informed and knowledge about how to effectively serve DLLs.
- Birth-3rd Grade Alignment: Engage state and local leadership in developing a framework for effective transition periods and alignment from birth through grade 3 that support multilingualism, coordination, and equity through professional learning, curricula, instructional strategies, assessment, and other relevant policies and practices.
Goal 3: Unify Funding to Advance Equity and Opportunity
- DLL Adjustment Factor: Determine adjustments to the rate structure based on workforce, characteristics of children served, and location. Adjustments to the base rate could incentivize care for DLLs.
For more information about the Master Plan’s key recommendations, click here.