Language Development and Dual Language Learners

*It has meaning to them, allow it to have meaning to you*

In the Newsletter entitled “Ensuring all children start school ready to learn” focused on language development and dual language learners. Dual Language learns are students that speak more than one language.

I found this information very informative and contrary to what I thought as a teacher. “Researchers have found that babies have an innate capacity to learn two languages from birth, and that, contrary to what some believe, this early exposure to both languages does not cause confusion, or delay development in either language.”

“In fact, findings from a multi-state study show that Spanish-speaking preschoolers’ reading and math scores were higher when they received more instruction in Spanish, especially when they attended high-quality programs. In the long term, programs that teach students in two languages have fewer high school dropouts, and those students out perform other English learners who are taught in English only.”

As an Early Childhood Educator I was more focused on helping the students understand the overall language in the classroom which was English. I never allowed the students to embrace their native language by also providing it in the classroom, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it was because the only language that I spoke is English. So, that was all I could provide for them.

It also thought that parents put their children in preschool so that they could have a better understanding of the English Language. It would have been a great opportunity for me to have learned a few words in their native language so that they would feel more connected to me as a teacher, and to their language.

My suggestion to all of you is to do just that. As you strive to mainstream your dual speaking students in your classroom and engulf them in the English language. Take some time out to learn a few key words in their language so that they will feel more connected to you as their teacher. And even if you mispronounce a word, at least they know you cared enough to try.

“Conversations at the federal level about optimizing and increasing early learning investments provide an important opportunity for our states to find common ground on how to best meet the needs of DLLs (Dual Language Learners) and prepare and support qualified teachers who serve them.” 

I actually wrote this blog years ago, since then I have tried to learn something in each child’s language that was in my classroom. I love the look on their faces when they see me trying.

I have some PDF Files and Checklist on Dual Language Learners. If you are interested in receiving them, please email me at

I love teaching students and mentoring teachers!

10 Thoughts

  1. Good Morning Darla, I have a toddler (not even two years old yet won’t be until May) that his parents are teaching him Russian…He is also being taught Spanish and English…Personally I think it is way too much for this little guy, I need outside opinions…Please…Thank you!!

    1. Hi Heather, I can’t say that the parents are confusing him, and the fact that he isn’t talking doesn’t sound like a red flag, he is still very young. I wonder if the parents are teaching him the languages, but not requiring him to reply to what they are saying with words. I actually had a three-year-old that spoke two different languages, and he didn’t seem confused at all.
      I use to think that too, that it was too much, but from my understanding of what I read, it’s okay, as long as the child doesn’t seem overwhelmed. I hope this helps

      1. He is making developments but still is not speaking. Although he is starting to show some excitment when we do our fingerplays. Thank you for asking.

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