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Supporting School Readiness among Children Who Are Dual Language Learners Robert Stechuk, Ph D OHS National Center on Cultural & Linguistic Responsiveness (NCCLR) Virginia Head Start Association May 7, 2013
School Readiness for DLLs • Head Start National demographics: • (2010-2011)
The Presenter • Bob Stechuk • PhD in child development & early literacy • Assistant Director, OHS NCCLR • Former faculty member & research associate, George Mason University Graduate School of Education • Former T/TA provider, MSHS • Former Head Start Director • Parent of 2 children who are DLLs
The Presentation • This day-long training will provide Head Start program leaders with • a comprehensive understanding of children birth through age five who are dual language learners; • Concrete understandings of strategies and practices that promote their school readiness; and • “Next steps” planning
The Preview • As a starting point, we want to consider “where you are at” with school readiness for the children who are DLLs in your program. • Handout 1: School Readiness for Children Who Are DLLs: Where are We at NOW?
Preview De-Briefing • What did you find? Where is your program “at”? • What are your program’s strengths? • What information is your program most in need of? What program operations are most in need of improvement?
Session Topics • Key research findings: the complexity of dual language development & the importance of a child’s Home Language • Screening and assessing children who are DLLs • Writing and revising school readiness goals for children who are DLLs
Session Topics • Teaching to support school readiness: • When teachers speak English • When teachers speak the Home Language • Family Engagement • Working with child data for children who are DLLs
The complexity of dual language development & the importance of a child’s Home Language Key Research Findings
Complexity • Monolingual development = one developmental “pathway” • Dual language development = more than one developmental “pathway”
Dual Language Learners OHS Definition of Dual Language Learners: • Children – • Acquire two or more languages simultaneously (i.e., from birth) OR • Learn a second language while continuing to develop their first language • See the ECLKC – DLL Home Page for more information http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/cultural-linguistic/Dual%20Language%20Learners
Unique Aspects of Dual Language • Age of acquisition • Amount, frequency & type of exposure • Source(s) and settings for exposure • Language status • Opportunities for use • Access to ideas & information • Increased demands upon memory • Different cultural settings
Cutting the Complexity • The key question is: • Is a child’s Home Language important to their school readiness? • First, we need to answer “yes” or “no” and then clearly explain why….
Cutting the Complexity • Where Do YOU Fit in? • The leader’s task: aligning content knowledge of how children develop with key decisions that affect daily practices in order to provide children with a strong foundation for school and life.
QUESTION: • Are children’s developmental domains separate or connected? For example, is language development connected to identity, social/emotional, and/or cognitive development? • The answer to this question answers the question: Why is the Home language important?
Answer: • YES! Children’s developmental domains are connected. For example, language is development connected to identity, social/emotional, and/or cognitive development….per the OHS CDELF. • Therefore, the continued development of a child’s Home Language is important and necessary for their school readiness!
Importance of Home Language • Has been part of OHS policies since 1991. OHS Multicultural Principle 6: • “Effective program for children who speak languages other than English require continued development of the first language while the acquisition of English is facilitated.”
Importance of Home Language • Children’s understanding of themselves, their families and others are developed within their Home Language. • Children internalize the language they hear when parents and family members talk. • Children think and reflect on information about themselves, their families, and their communities using their Home Language.
Importance of Home Language • In addition, a wide range of cognitive (thinking) skills are developing within the Home Language, such as: • Classification • Categorization • Logical/cause-and-effect reasoning • Narrative abilities (length and complexity) • Concepts related to spatial relations/math
Importance of Home Language • Understanding the importance of a child’s Home Language means making connections across the relevant information: First, children develop a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes within their Home Language. Second, children need all of these skills and abilities for school success.
Importance of Home Language • Therefore, the best interests of the child are served by the uninterrupted development of the Home Language during the birth – age five period. • Children benefit when they continue to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they already have.
Importance of Home Language • One key research finding of young DLLs, presented from many individual studies, is that children’s knowledge and skills transfer across languages. • In other words, skills developed in a child’s Home Language support reading in English/school success.
Importance of Home Language • Phonological awareness in Spanish predicted English reading scores (Gottardo, et al., 2002) • Oral language proficiency in Spanish predicted English reading scores (Miller, et al., 2006) • See the OHS Multicultural Principles, pages 47-52, for a more complete discussion.
Importance of Home Language • Continued development of a child’s L1: • permits them to continue to develop their cognitive skills as well as family/cultural connections; AND • promotes their school readiness, including their acquisition of spoken English as well as reading in English.
Taking It Home • Take a few moments to reflect upon the information presented in this section • How could you share information with staff from your program who did not attend?
Screening and Assessing Children who are DLLs Understanding Where Children are “at”
‘Assessment’: OHS Definition • The Head Start Program Performance Standards (1304 & 1308) define and describe ‘assessment’ as a three-step process: • Step 1: Screening • Step 2: Ongoing (developmental) assessment • Step 3: Developmental evaluation
Step 1 - Screening • “Screening” is: To identify children that need to be referred for a development evaluation (i.e., to determine if the child has a disability [i.e. Step 3, Formal Evaluation). • 1308.6 (3) (b) (3) clearly states: When appropriate standardized developmental screening instruments exist, they must be used.
Screening DLLs • For Spanish-speaking children: Standardized screening instruments are available. Use Assessing Spanish-English Bilingual Preschool Children to identify & select appropriate options.
Screening DLLs • Assessing Spanish-English Bilingual Preschoolers • Reviews 37 instruments in Spanish & English • Compares relative strengths & • weaknesses, administration tasks, • cost • Publisher: Paul H. Brookes • ISBN: 13-978-1-59857-219-3
Screening DLLs • For Spanish-speaking children: Consider using parent-based screening instruments (e.g., Ages and Stages Questionnaire) in conjunction with another instrument.
Screening DLLs in Languages Other than Spanish • Valid & reliable instruments are virtually impossible to obtain. • Use parent-based screening instruments (e.g., Ages and Stages Questionnaire) in conjunction with teacher’s (and, if possible) home visit observations.
Activity 1 • Question: What language do we screen in??? • Activity: In your group, identify the procedures your program uses to screen DLLs.
Pre-Screening Use the Gathering Background Information Handout to identify information about how to screen an individual child.
Activity 1 • Home language environments of “Latino” infants are highly variable: • Only Spanish spoken – 19% • Primarily Spanish spoken with some English – 35% • Primarily English spoken with some Spanish – 22% • Only English spoken – 21% (see Barrueco et al., 2012) • Communicate with the family to understand a child’s language background; screen in all languages the child is growing up with.
Activity Wrap-Up • Gather information from the family about the child’s language background and experiences • Screen children in the languages they are developing
Step 2 – Ongoing Assessment • Ongoing (developmental) assessment = • Regular information collection throughout child’s enrollment • Identify a child’s strengths and needs as well as family goals, resources • Support individualizing • Support family engagement • Plan instruction to maximize the child’s learning
Assessing across languages The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework • 11 Domains, including English Language Development • English Language Development applies to children who are Dual Language Learners • Receptive and Expressive English Language Skills • Engagement in English Literacy Activities • The Framework provides the basis for supporting children’s home language – a child’s knowledge must be assessed in either their home language or in English
Ongoing Assessment for DLLs • Teacher observations are vital: • Look for and document examples of skills and knowledge • Record information about attention span, persistence and interests • Document interactions with other children and adults • Share and compare information with families over time • Consider family data!
Activity 2 • Use the Gathering Background Information Handout (“puzzle pieces”) with a partner to identify information about an individual child. • One person play the role of a parent; one person take the role of Head Start staff. • What did you learn about the child? How could you use the information for teaching?
Using Ongoing Assessment Data • “Collecting” – identify a child’s strengths and needs from 3 sources: • Families • Observations • Instruments • “Connecting” – • Use understandings of a child’s strengths to plan specific learning activities. • Use understandings of needs to guide supports, selection of materials, and language modeling.
Measuring English Progress • For children who enter your program with little or no prior experience in English • Observe and record information about a child’s receptive capabilities in English. • Use curriculum-based objectives to guide observations: e.g., ask the child to show you (point to) a red car or three blocks. • Consider using instruments that assess receptive language or receptive vocabulary in English.
“Strategic” Assessment • Several strategies for supporting teaching staff to be effective assessors: • Explore the match between “naturally occurring” assessment items & the daily curriculum • Gather data during dramatic play • Make use of “work samples” • Gather data after book readings
Taking It Home - 2 • Take a few moments to reflect upon the information presented in this section • How could you share information with staff from your program who did not attend?
Writing and revising school readiness goals for children who are DLLs Using S-R Goals as an Organizing Tool