WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education released a "Policy Statement on Supporting the Development of Children Who Are Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs".
The following statement should be attributed to National Head Start Association Executive Director, Yasmina Vinci:
“The National Head Start Association and the entire Head Start community applaud this national recognition that bilingualism is a strength that many of our children bring to their classrooms and the policy statement’s commitment to ensuring all children and families are welcomed into early learning settings that support their trajectories to success in school and in life.
The statement reinforces the critical importance of early childhood programs that are implementing long-established Head Start practices designed to support the development of all young dual language learners. Central to the Head Start model is a commitment to the whole child and the whole family, which includes embracing children's language and culture as strengths as they move toward school readiness. The Head Start community has made significant workforce investments to ensure educators echo languages spoken in each classroom, and fully 30% of Head Start teaching staff speak a language other than English.
We look forward to leading best practices for our youngest dual language learners as the Head Start community embraces the new Head Start Performance Standards that include home language instruction for infants and toddlers and a gradual transition to English language instruction that continues to respect and cultivate children's home languages.”
# # #
For more information about the National Head Start Association, visit www.nhsa.org.