Table of Contents
Features of Dual Language Education Programs
Assessment and Accountability
Family and Community
Support and Resources
What is Dual language? Dual language is a form of bilingual education that teaches students, as young as pre-k programs, literacy and content in their native speaking language. These programs typically start in kindergarten and continue for the next few years, many are now continuing into middle school and high school. The need for dual language programs in increasing as the years go by. The growth of so-called “dual language programs” has been swift over the last decade (Loeb, 1999) and it continues to rise after a decade past and decades to come. As a child, I have memories of the first day of school. I remember starting school and feeling very frightened when I didn’t comprehend what the teacher was explaining to me because she was speaking a different language. I grew up in a Spanish speaking home and attending school was where I first encountered the English language. As many other struggling students, I learned English the hard way. I learned English because I needed it in order to advance in school and “fit in” with the other kids. I am grateful for the implementation of the dual language program.
The rise of the ESL population is increasing at a rapid pace. The population of children who do not come from homes where English is spoken is on the rise, and, to ensure their success in school, publicly-funded early childhood programs need to build their capacity and expertise to meet the needs of young English-language learners. Organizations are being urged to maximize on the investments being made in public preschool programs to serve disadvantaged children. These programs aim for bilingualism (the ability to speak fluently in two languages), bi-literacy (the ability to read and write in two languages), academic achievement equal to that of students in non-dual language programs, and cross-cultural competence. (NDLC).
Dual language is the focus of many early childhood education experts who encourage federal, state, and local support to meet the increasing demand for culturally and linguistically corresponding services for children who are dual-language learners. While recognizing that the development of childrens’ English skills are critical to ensure school readiness, there is great importance in developing a child’s primary language for several reasons, including their success in learning the English language and also maintaining alive their native language. The need for high-quality dual language programs, especially those with a dual-language component or at least bilingual teaching staff, would definitely help increase the enrollment of the preschool participation rates of Latino children, who are the less likely than their white, black, and Asian peers to have a prekindergarten experience before starting school. As an employee of an organization that was the first to provide bilingual Head Start Services, I can appreciate and understand the great necessity for dual language services.
Guadalupe Head Start was established in 1964 making it Milwaukee's first bilingual Head Start Program. In 1965, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee allowed the use of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (239 W. Washington Street) to house the first federally funded bilingual Head Start in the city (and one of the first in the nation)……it serves approximately 640 children and their families at six (6) sites throughout the inner city. (CSS)
The Council is proud to say that the Guadalupe Head Start Center served as a model for other bilingual programs in the nation. Parents...
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