"Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs"
Immigrant families often struggle to take advantage of maximizing the benefits of early-childhood education opportunities for their children, even as many states work to expand and improve such programs, a new report from the Migration Policy Institute finds.
Immigrant parents who lack English proficiency and, oftentimes, functional literacy in their home language—coupled with scant numbers of early-childhood programs with the capacity to offer them more than cursory information in a language they can understand—present nearly "insurmountable barriers" to ensuring their children benefit from early-childhood education and are as kindergarten-ready as many of their peers, the report states. The report also decries the lack of dedicated sources of public funding to support language and cultural services for immigrant parents, and federal, state, and district-level data to help plan for the needs of immigrant families and their children.
The authors offer a number of recommended solutions, including:
• Making adult English-language courses more widely available, specifically targeting the immigrant parents of young children;
• Ensuring that engaging parents and offering immigrant families language and other support services become part of states' priorities for early-childhood education programs; and
• Expanding data collection prior to kindergarten on the needs of immigrant families.
Vol. 33, Issue 35, Page 5Published in Print: June 11, 2014, as Early Learning