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Innovating for Inclusion Newsletter

Dual Language Learners III

In past newsletters we have emphasized the importance of fostering belonging for all children, including Dual Language Learners (DLLs). We have explored creating a welcoming environment for DLLs and their families, with an emphasis on supporting DLLs with disabilities. Likewise, we have focused on the importance of relationship-building with both DLLs and their families. In this newsletter, we will explore dual-language programs, language and literacy.

The Case for Bilingual Programs for Children with Disabilities 

This article is written by Dr. Diane Rodriguez, an Associate Professor at Fordham University; in it, she explores the ability of bilingual learners with disabilities to learn in more than one language. She delves into the components of a successful bilingual program serving students with special needs. Dr. Rodriguez outlines the Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) Dual Language (DL) program which is the instruction of academic content in two languages (English and native language), which was designed specifically to meet the unique needs of children who are acquiring a second language and who have been identified as having disability. The essential components of such a program are the following: 
  • The use of two languages by the students and the teachers
  • The role of the teacher in affirming the diversity of the student population represented in the classroom
  • The development of critical thinking skills in the two languages
  • Manifestation of a positive classroom environment
  • The inclusion and participation of all students
Ultimately, ICT-DL classrooms can foster learning environments which effectively contribute to a student's bilingualism and biliteracy development, which can in turn contribute to their academic success.

After your students read the article, ask them to point out two important take-home messages for early childhood classrooms. 

The Intersection of Bilingual Education and Special Education

Watch Dr. Alba Ortiz speak to The Research Supporting Native Language Instruction. She cites research which outlines how students do better when they receive native language instruction and how there are particular benefits for their English language proficiency. Moreover, she argues that students with disabilities - more than their non-disabled peers - require native language instruction (to the extent possible). Lastly, she enumerates ways that programs in which the instruction is entirely in English can incorporate native language supports.

Engage your students in a discussion of the ways they can support preschool children's experiences with books and stories in their home/native languages. 

Developing Language & Literacy

Watch how Carmen Ngan, a preschool teacher at Kai Ming Head Start, explains how her classroom employs a bilingual approach to honor the children's home language while also teaching them English. Books play a central role in developing language and literacy; open-ended questions help to develop receptive and expressive language skills. Moreover, fun activities which deepen the ideas presented in the book are also implemented.   

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered DLL concepts which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 1 (Relationships): The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community. 
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.
  • Standard 7 (Families): The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings.

DEC Recommended Practices

The DEC Recommended Practices includes a domain on instruction
assessment, and family.

Who We Are

Early EdU for Inclusion incorporates the experiences of children with disabilities into an array of coursework. Early EdU for Inclusion is a supportive space for Washington Community and Technical College faculty to reimagine or further develop course materials related to equitable and inclusive early childhood classrooms. For more information, contact

Upcoming Events and Webinars

UDL: Challenges and Considerations
October 28, 2021

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