Over 60% of children from birth to age 5 in the state of California are dual language learners (DLLs). While the field has advanced considerably in understanding dual language development and education, much work still needs to be done to identify the best practices that support young DLLs in early learning and care settings.
The First 5 California-funded Dual Language Learner Pilot Study seeks to identify the range and distribution of learning experiences for DLLs in California and to better understand how these experiences are linked to positive child and family outcomes. Specific goals of this study are to:
- Determine what are effective and feasible practices for DLLs in early learning and care settings, across three content areas: instructional practices, professional development, and family engagement.
- Disseminate findings about best practices to relevant stakeholders and practitioners.
This first research brief from the statewide study of the learning contexts, supports, and outcomes for California DLLs and their families summarizes the perspectives of county-level leaders on the context, challenges, and guidance for DLL caregivers in their counties, which in turn impact practices in the classroom. This brief also offers examples of successful practices to support DLLs in their communities and concludes with implications and next steps for the study.
Initial findings from the study indicate that overall beliefs about bilingualism and policies in place to support DLLs are shifting in a direction that promotes the development of young DLLs’ bilingualism. However, there are still systemic challenges that limit implementation of high-quality instruction for DLLs.