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Chat: Educating Preschoolers Whose Native Language Isn't English

Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 2 p.m. Eastern time
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 Educating Preschoolers Whose Native Language Isn't English(06/29/2010) 
10:11
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's chat, "Educating Preschoolers Whose Native Language Isn't English," is open for questions, please start submitting them now.

The chat itself will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Thanks for joining us.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 10:11 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
2:00
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Welcome to our Web chat about educating children who speak a language other than English at home. We have some good questions already.

Joining me on the chat are Barbara Bowman, the chief early childhood education officer for Chicago Public Schools, and Reyna Hernandez, the research and policy associate for the Latino Policy Forum.

Barbara is also a co-founder of the Erikson Institute.

Could you please each tell us a bit more about yourselves.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:00 Mary Ann Zehr
2:01
Reyna Hernandez: 
Good afternoon. My name is Reyna Hernandez. I have been involved in bilingual preschool and other recommendations to the state to serve English language learners in preschool programs.As part of my work with the Latino Policy Forum, I staff the Illinois Early Learning Council’s Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Committee, the primary committee addressing the bilingual preschool rule changes in Illinois.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:01 Reyna Hernandez
2:01
Barbara Bowman: 
I have been in early childhood education for over 50 years both as a teacher of young children and as a college level teacher. I also have lived in another country and had to learn another language myself
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:01 Barbara Bowman
2:01
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara, could you first describe briefly the new rules in Illinois regarding public preschools and what they will mean for early childhood education in Chicago Public Schools.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:01 Mary Ann Zehr
2:03
Barbara Bowman: 
Preschool has now been included in the State requirements for ELLs and must meet the state requirements. These have not been finally decided so we are waiting to find out how to implement
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:03 Barbara Bowman
2:03
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Reyna, if the rules are finalized, what do you find most important about the rules and what is your view of them?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:03 Mary Ann Zehr
2:04
Reyna Hernandez: 
I believe these rules are a very important step for the state of Illinois as a leader in high quality early childhood education...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:04 Reyna Hernandez
2:04
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara, Here's a question from Marcedes about what is in place in Illinois now.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:04 Mary Ann Zehr
2:04
[Comment From Mercedes FernandezMercedes Fernandez: ] 
How many school districts already have the bilingual program in Pre- K?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:04 Mercedes Fernandez
2:04
Reyna Hernandez: 
These rules will mean that ELLs will have access across the state to services that better align with their k-12 education and meet their language needs...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:04 Reyna Hernandez
2:04
Barbara Bowman: 
I do not know about other school districts.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:04 Barbara Bowman
2:05
Mary Ann Zehr: 
What about Chicago Public Schools?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:05 Mary Ann Zehr
2:05
Reyna Hernandez: 
... These rules will mean teachers that are certified in language acquisition, which I think is one of the greatest points.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:05 Reyna Hernandez
2:05
Reyna Hernandez: 
@ Mercedes - We do know that there are very few bilingual programs throghout the state
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:05 Reyna Hernandez
2:06
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Mercedes the services received by children really depend on where they live and whether a program is offered presently
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:06 Reyna Hernandez
2:06
Barbara Bowman: 
Schools that have a large number of ELLs already have well developed programs and preschool is aligned with them. In schools with few ELLs and ones who speak different languages, the resources are not as well developed.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:06 Barbara Bowman
2:07
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara: What's your view of the rules now under consideration?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:07 Mary Ann Zehr
2:08
Barbara Bowman: 
We hope that the State Board will provide a good deal of flexibility for preschool since our programs are quite different. For instance, for older students their are rules about instructional time that would not apply to us. Further, children learn a lot from one another so we would want time for children to play with one another in English
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:08 Barbara Bowman
2:09
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Reyna, here's a question about staffing preschools to serve ELLs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:09 Mary Ann Zehr
2:09
[Comment From MicheleMichele: ] 
Will preschools in Illinois or elsewhere have a difficult time finding teachers and staff who are trained to carry out these policies?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:09 Michele
2:10
Reyna Hernandez: 
Finding teachers is a challenge; however, beginning with any new program has its challenges. Finding teachers was one of the challenges when Illinois began requiring a master’s level early childhood teaching certificate a few years ago. The state prioritized meeting that need as it planned resources for professional development. I think that it will take some time, but the state can meet this need.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:10 Reyna Hernandez
2:10
Mary Ann Zehr: 
While Illinois has a lot of Spanish-speaking preschoolers, it also has children who speak many other languages. Here's a question about that situation. Barbara, please take this one...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:10 Mary Ann Zehr
2:10
[Comment From Karen NemethKaren Nemeth: ] 
I hope you will address the most complex, yet frequent, situations wherein there are more than two languages in the classroom and not enough adults to speak all of the languages needed. Bilingual education in preschool is a news headline, but is not the answer for many of the multilingual preschool classrooms out here.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:10 Karen Nemeth
2:12
Barbara Bowman: 
There is no question that it is more of a challenge to teach children who all speak a different language. In this case, the best approach is to teach English as quickly and efficiently as possible iin school and encourage their parents to maintain their home language--which is important to do
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:12 Barbara Bowman
2:12
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Reyna: Want to weigh in on this question, too?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:12 Mary Ann Zehr
2:13
Reyna Hernandez: 
Supporting a child’s native language and helping a child acquire English are about much more than just speaking the child’s language. Even where there is no teacher that speaks the child’s language, there is a wealth of knowledge about language acquisition which can be very helpful...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:13 Reyna Hernandez
2:13
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara, here's a question for you about the flexibility you were talking about.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:13 Mary Ann Zehr
2:13
[Comment From Dawn TerrillDawn Terrill: ] 
Will program level administrators have the ability to decide what type of classroom and curriculum model to implement, depending on the number of languages present in each classroom?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:13 Dawn Terrill
2:14
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Karen ...In Illinois, we have an ESL endorsement which is 18 credit hours and provides teachers with a base of knowledge regarding the specific needs of these children even if they don't speak the language. This is particularly useful for multiple languages in one classroom
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:14 Reyna Hernandez
2:15
Mary Ann Zehr: 
The rules give criteria for what assessment to use but don't say which one must be used. Here's a question about assessment. Barbara?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:15 Mary Ann Zehr
2:15
[Comment From Joanne MarinoJoanne Marino: ] 
What assessments do you recommend for determining if a PreK students is an English learner?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:15 Joanne Marino
2:15
Barbara Bowman: 
A lot will depend on the rules the State Board makes but I assume that not only administrators but parents and community members will chime in on what kinds of program they want. There are lots of different successful models of both bilingual education and teaching a second language (and third too) so we are not locked into a single curricula or method.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:15 Barbara Bowman
2:16
Mary Ann Zehr: 
How practical would it be to extend the rules adopted by the state board in Illinois to other states? Reyna?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:16 Mary Ann Zehr
2:16
[Comment From Connie GoodeConnie Goode: ] 
What does a Pre-K teacher do if there is no ELL college level certification program available in their home state or area?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:16 Connie Goode
2:16
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I'll toss in a comment, here, too.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:16 Mary Ann Zehr
2:16
[Comment From Karen NemethKaren Nemeth: ] 
NJ already has similar rules in Bilingual Education code. Pre-K is included in the code requirements, but there is wording allowing for preschool students' needs to be met according to developmentally appropriate practice - and the code refers to the NJ Preschool Program Implementation Guidelines that have about 6 pages of guidance on supporting English language learners in preschool.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:16 Karen Nemeth
2:17
Reyna Hernandez: 
These rules are specific to Illinois, but the general policy of bilingual preschool is very appropriate for any state that offers bilingual education in k-12. It is very important that early childhood programs align with k-12 programs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:17 Reyna Hernandez
2:18
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara, here's a question for you about the identification process. What's happening in Chicago?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:18 Mary Ann Zehr
2:18
[Comment From JessicaJessica: ] 
Is there currently an identification process for ID of Pre-K students or will there be in the furture?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:18 Jessica
2:18
Barbara Bowman: 
Joanne we encourage programs to make the assessment by observing children and interacting with them. We think that giving tests is not a good way to get information about young children. On the other hand, we also need to develop better assessment teachniques to assess not only which a child's strongest language, but what is the kind of language he or she needs help with. Often, children speak a home language well but do not have access to school language.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:18 Barbara Bowman
2:18
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Connie- Some college programs are offering coursework online to help train teachers. I believe the University of Illinois is offering such a program.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:18 Reyna Hernandez
2:19
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I think Jessica means identification of ELLs, by the way.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:19 Mary Ann Zehr
2:19
Barbara Bowman: 
Jessica, this year we are giving a test that was mandated by the State Board. We hope we will have more flexibility in the future.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:19 Barbara Bowman
2:20
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Reyna, here's a question of clarification that I'll pitch to you.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:20 Mary Ann Zehr
2:20
[Comment From NicoleNicole: ] 
If it is a bilingual classroom, I would believe it would only have 2 languages being spoken. The concerns related to multiple languages present by few students would be more of an ESL concern, wouldn't it? Isn't there a certain number (by state law) needed before a bilingual service is provided? Would that be part of the proposed law change for preschool?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:20 Nicole
2:21
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Meanwhile, a reader responds to Connie.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Mary Ann Zehr
2:21
[Comment From Bernadette LaumannBernadette Laumann: ] 
@Connie: There are online programs for teacher certification in ESL. University of IL at Urbana-Champaign College of Education offers an online ESL teacher certification program. It is a graduate program.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Bernadette Laumann
2:21
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Nicole - Yes. Under the rules adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education, 20 preschool students or more of one language would require a bilingual (native language) program
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Reyna Hernandez
2:21
Barbara Bowman: 
Connie, Erikson Institute in Chicago also has an on-line course
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Barbara Bowman
2:21
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Each of you please answer this next question.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Mary Ann Zehr
2:21
[Comment From LoreeLoree: ] 
Has NAEYC been influential?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:21 Loree
2:22
Reyna Hernandez: 
@ Nicole - less than 20 would require an ESL program (which is designed for non-native language instruction)
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:22 Reyna Hernandez
2:22
Barbara Bowman: 
NAEYC had a position statement out on language and culture and also on assessment of ELLS. I hope we can make good use of their recommendation in our final plans
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:22 Barbara Bowman
2:23
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Loree -NAEYC has played a role in what we are doing in Illinois. The new screening language which was recrafted several times before the rules were adopted incorporates NAEYC's recommendations for assessing ELLs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:23 Reyna Hernandez
2:23
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Could either of you give us a couple of examples of NAEYC's recommendations?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:23 Mary Ann Zehr
2:24
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's a comment from Blanca that I'll toss into the mix.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:24 Mary Ann Zehr
2:24
[Comment From Blanca QuirozBlanca Quiroz: ] 
I would also caution transition to English to early. It is difficult to build literacy skills when there is no strong foundations of oral language. Losing native language too early could interfere with parent-child communication and opportunities to develop language-general skills.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:24 Blanca Quiroz
2:24
Barbara Bowman: 
NAEYC has a strong position against testing young children and in favor of observation as a way of assessing them. I do not know about the final rules but I hope this is included.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:24 Barbara Bowman
2:25
Reyna Hernandez: 
NAEYC recommends linguistically and culturally appropriate assessment (which is of course developmentally appropriate) as well as participation of the family in the assessment...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:25 Reyna Hernandez
2:26
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara. We still have a reader confused about what might happen with identification under the rules adopted by the board of ed. Let me note here that the rules have gone to a joint legislative committee that can object to them or not object to them. Could you address Edris' question, please?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:26 Mary Ann Zehr
2:26
[Comment From Edris HarrellEdris Harrell: ] 
How would it be determined if a child is an ELL student or not? For school age children, it is usually an English proficiency test. For preschoolers, will it likely be just a parent language survey?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:26 Edris Harrell
2:27
Barbara Bowman: 
Blanca, I think every one is in favor of helping children keep their home language. On the other hand, all over the world young children learn one or more additional languages without any difficulty. We also want to be careful that children learn to read in a strong language, since comprehension depends of concept development. There is a lot to consider in making plans and its a good reason why having staff with advanced degrees is helpful
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:27 Barbara Bowman
2:27
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Blanca - Agreed Blanca. Supporting the native language is about much more than just "learning English". It has cognitive, linguistic, and socioemotional benefits. It is supported by a wide body of research including works by Linda Espinosa, Eugene Garcia, and brain studies by Patricia Kuhl.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:27 Reyna Hernandez
2:28
Barbara Bowman: 
The first iteration of the rules called for the use of a particular test. This was put iinto the Chicago Public schools as a pilot last year and throughout this year. As noted earlier, we are waiting for the final rules to see what will be requifred.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:28 Barbara Bowman
2:29
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Reyna, please talk more about the teachers in these programs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:29 Mary Ann Zehr
2:29
[Comment From GMCGMC: ] 
Will teachers that want to remain in these preschools be offered the opportunity to receive language training? If so, how will this instruction be funded?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:29 GMC
2:31
Reyna Hernandez: 
@GMC - The state is encouraging districts to evaluate their current workforce and start to prepare for professional development to meet these requirements. The additional certification requirement kicks-in July 1, 2014, but there is a lot of planning that needs to happen...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:31 Reyna Hernandez
2:32
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Barbara, could you talk about what Illinois educators are thinking about standards?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:32 Mary Ann Zehr
2:32
[Comment From Barbara MitchellBarbara Mitchell: ] 
Will Ilinois have Pre-K ELL standards? If so, is there a set of standards developed by TESOL or other organizations on which they will be based?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:32 Barbara Mitchell
2:32
Reyna Hernandez: 
@GMC - There are to new resources using ARRA stimulus funding to help build this workforce, one expands our Gateways to Opportunity ealry childhood scholarship program to include bilingual and the other is hosting higher education institutes to bring faculty from early childhood and bilingual departments together
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:32 Reyna Hernandez
2:33
Barbara Bowman: 
However, for programs that need a bilingually endorse teacher, the teacher will have to be fluent and read and write that language. Clearly, some teachers will not be qualified.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:33 Barbara Bowman
2:34
Reyna Hernandez: 
@GMC - It is also important to remember that even those teachers who are not proficient in a second language can take the 18 credit hours of the ESL endorsement to learn about language acquisition.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:34 Reyna Hernandez
2:35
Barbara Bowman: 
sTandards are ofcourse an increasingly important issue. What is the level of language competence in a language that is sufficient to go to school in that language. We need some more research to clarify that and, as I mentioned before, better assessment instruments and teachniques.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:35 Barbara Bowman
2:36
Mary Ann Zehr: 
We have a reader who thinks we're getting off topic. Let's slow down a bit and have each of you makes a few points about what you think is high-quality preschool education for children who speak a language other than English at home.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:36 Mary Ann Zehr
2:36
[Comment From ElaisaElaisa: ] 
Please return to the topic of this webinar" Educating preschoolers whose L1 is not English
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:36 Elaisa
2:37
Barbara Bowman: 
To return to teacher qualifications: as I understand it, if there are 20 or more chidlren of the same language they must have a bilingual, not ESL endorsed teacher.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:37 Barbara Bowman
2:37
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Yes, that's my understanding, too.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:37 Mary Ann Zehr
2:38
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Now to a few principles of high-quality education for these students...
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:38 Mary Ann Zehr
2:40
Reyna Hernandez: 
Supporting the native language is critical to a child's development. In order to do that, a program needs appropriate materials, program of instruction, and qualified knowledgeable teacher. If you look at the developmental domains that we have identified in Illinois, including cognitive, socioemotional, linguistic, and speech, language is a key part of all of them.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:40 Reyna Hernandez
2:40
Barbara Bowman: 
I think a high quality preschool programs for children who speak a language other than English at home can look quite different depending on the resources, the family, and the goals. It would be great if all children had a change to learn a second language. We call t hose dual language schools and they teach half in English and half in another language. We can also have bilingual schools, where children take 3 to 6 years to learn English, and we can have immersion schools where they transition in a year or two. In all instances, the more languages children know the better.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:40 Barbara Bowman
2:41
Reyna Hernandez: 
@ Elaisa - And native language support (ie. bilingual) is not always feasible, but where it is possible, I think it is ideal to provide it. We are advocates of dual language programs which do not just transition a child into english but that actually seek to produce bilingual children.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:41 Reyna Hernandez
2:41
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Each of you, please weigh in on what high-quality teacher prep looks like.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:41 Mary Ann Zehr
2:41
[Comment From Judy SherwoodJudy Sherwood: ] 
How can colleges better prepare teachers to address the needs of the ELLS preschool learners?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:41 Judy Sherwood
2:42
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Elaisa - A lot does depend on the k-12 programs that children will feed into. Dual language programs, for example, are designed to be long term programs. For example, I do not think it makes sense to have a dual-language preschool that is not part of a larger k-12 program.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:42 Reyna Hernandez
2:43
Barbara Bowman: 
Teacher preparation needs to be more extensi ve than is currently possible in our teacher education programs. In the few years in college teachers are not only expected to learn how to teach mainstream chidlren, but also linguistically and culturally different, chidlren with special needs, and just the range of typical chidlren. That;s more than a notion. So, encouragement for additional education (degrees and certifiates) as well as well thought out professional education are important
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:43 Barbara Bowman
2:44
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Judy - One thing they can do, as a first step, is to begin having these conversations about revising teacher prep programs across departments. DePaul just made a terrific change to their bachelor's early childhood teaching certificate program. It now integrates bilingual or ESL, so a teacher graduates eligible to get their early childhood teaching certificate, SpeEd endoresement, and bilingual or ESL
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:44 Reyna Hernandez
2:44
Mary Ann Zehr: 
What do each of you think about native-language assessments?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:44 Mary Ann Zehr
2:44
[Comment From LoreeLoree: ] 
If education is making the leap to 'global academics', primarily with English language, then would it not also be beneficial to create global access to language assessments in the native language...so parents can continuously monitor their child's home language skills...thereby embracing and validating native speakers of all languages?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:44 Loree
2:45
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Judy - The DePaul program is just one example. But we have spoken to others who are considering similar types of adaptations to their programs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:45 Reyna Hernandez
2:45
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I'll throw in a comment from a reader here, too.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:45 Mary Ann Zehr
2:45
[Comment From Blanca QuirozBlanca Quiroz: ] 
I agree with a previous comment on protecting the children's opportunities to socialize with peers in an enriched language environment facilitated by a language development knowledgable teacher is the best way to support children in pre-school. I believe that it is important to protect the child's opportunity to develop cognitive skills in a socially meaningful and connected environment, which is probably better achieved through the home language. When it is not possible or there are many home languages the next best approach is again a English Language enriched environment facilitated by lots of social interactions in the context of routines and activities that connect children's home and school context.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:45 Blanca Quiroz
2:46
Reyna Hernandez: 
It has been our position and that of the LInguistic and Cultural Diversity Committee that native language assessments are really important to providing high quality early childhood programs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:46 Reyna Hernandez
2:46
Barbara Bowman: 
The international requirements for degrees and translation of degrees from country to country is difficult. Creating standards for every language and culture would awesome, but probably not possible in the near future.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:46 Barbara Bowman
2:46
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's a question taking us in a new direction. Each of you, please weigh in.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:46 Mary Ann Zehr
2:47
[Comment From Mary Ellen AlloccaMary Ellen Allocca: ] 
I work for Head Start and do you believe preschool teachers should speak only Spanish at the beginning of the year or apeak English as well especially for the children or are just starting to experience preschool
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:47 Mary Ellen Allocca
2:47
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I meant to pick this one, but they both relate to Head Start.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:47 Mary Ann Zehr
2:47
[Comment From Judy SherwoodJudy Sherwood: ] 
Where does Head Start fall in this mix with ELLs?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:47 Judy Sherwood
2:47
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Loree - We do not currently use native language assessments, but we are (in Illinois) supposed to address a child's language and speech development. I think that we cannot do that if we are only looking at the child's second language -English.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:47 Reyna Hernandez
2:48
Barbara Bowman: 
In teacher education one of my concerns is how much information student teachers can process and utilize in the usual 2 years of teacher education. Teacher education is one of the shortest of the professional schools and I suspect we need to extend the eduction of teachers beyond its current few years.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:48 Barbara Bowman
2:49
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Mary Ellen - I think that the model chosen has to be chosen very deliberately and chosen to meet local needs and to align with the child's future program of instruction. There are models that start in a child's language at the beginning. It depends on the model chosen.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:49 Reyna Hernandez
2:50
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Let's move on to how Head Start is part of the mix, please.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:50 Mary Ann Zehr
2:50
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Judy - While Head Start is not providing bilingual services generally, that I am aware, HS held a Dual Language Institute last year and has been growing resources for the field relating to ELLs. The Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (available online) is a HS resource with lots of great information about serving preschool ELLs
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:50 Reyna Hernandez
2:51
Barbara Bowman: 
Head Start does not currently have a language mandate but as Reyna noted, they are to pay attention to children's language and culture. We have not talked about dialects, which also need to be paid attention to--dialects iin English and dialects in other languages.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:51 Barbara Bowman
2:52
Mary Ann Zehr: 
So the rules adopted by the state board of ed and now to be addressed by the joint legislative committee for them to go into effect apply only to preschools run by public school districts, not Head Start, right?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:52 Mary Ann Zehr
2:52
Reyna Hernandez: 
Absolutely. Addressing dialects is also an important linguistic need.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:52 Reyna Hernandez
2:53
Barbara Bowman: 
One of the interesting things about young children is that they are very much aware of dialectal differences and often do not "take in" language usage that does not match that of their families. Often, children will answer English speakers speaking the child's home language if the accent is not right.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:53 Barbara Bowman
2:54
Reyna Hernandez: 
They apply to state-funded preschool programs administered by school districts, correct. Because of blended funding streams, this can logistically impact programs that also have HS funding.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:54 Reyna Hernandez
2:54
Barbara Bowman: 
That is answer English speakers in English when the dialect is not right
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:54 Barbara Bowman
2:54
Mary Ann Zehr: 
For more information about the rules just adopted by the Illinois board of ed, you can refer to my blog, Learning the Language, www.edweek.org/go/ltl. I had a couple of recent posts on them.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:54 Mary Ann Zehr
2:55
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Before we sign off, what are next steps for each of you/
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:55 Mary Ann Zehr
2:55
Barbara Bowman: 
We have not had clarification of whether school districts funding community programs must use the same rules as appy to the district itself.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:55 Barbara Bowman
2:56
Reyna Hernandez: 
Implementation. That will be one of the biggest challenges. We plan on working to provide and develop resources for teachers and programs. Getting the word out to them is also very important.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:56 Reyna Hernandez
2:56
Barbara Bowman: 
We are waiting for the final rules to make our plans. For this year, we will be testing all the children
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:56 Barbara Bowman
2:56
Mary Ann Zehr: 
What are the some of the strengths in the programs you have now in place for preschoolers that you will be building on?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:56 Mary Ann Zehr
2:57
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I'll toss in one more comment from a reader.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:57 Mary Ann Zehr
2:57
[Comment From Judy SherwoodJudy Sherwood: ] 
Not to belabor the point, but if the wages were higher for the preschooler teacher with a college degree, then many more would be willing to pursue additional education especially for the ELLS avenue. Agree?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:57 Judy Sherwood
2:58
Barbara Bowman: 
We are particularly anxious to energize our parent programs by having our parents encourage their chidlren to speak their home language, and if possible. to become literate in it. so we will be working on that this year.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:58 Barbara Bowman
2:58
Reyna Hernandez: 
Illinois already has a lot of very different programs, urban and suburban, that provide bilingual, dual language, ESL for preschoolers. There are a lot of local resources to learn from. A majority of the ELLs in Illinois are now outside of the City of Chicago, so addressing those places is really important.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:58 Reyna Hernandez
2:58
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Any additional final words in the last two minutes?
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:58 Mary Ann Zehr
2:59
Reyna Hernandez: 
@Judy - I agree. Teacher compensation is an issue of ECE teachers and bilingual teachers (which usually don't get paid more despite their additional coursework).
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:59 Reyna Hernandez
2:59
Barbara Bowman: 
Judy, the preschool for all program requires community partners to pay nearly the same to their teachers as the public school. We think this is a step in the right direction of enabling a professional work force.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:59 Barbara Bowman
2:59
Reyna Hernandez: 
I am very pleased that Illinois continues to be a leader in high quality early childhood education, now elevating the level of services for ELLs.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 2:59 Reyna Hernandez
3:00
Barbara Bowman: 
Final thoughts: Isn't it an exciting time to be in early childhood education!
Tuesday June 29, 2010 3:00 Barbara Bowman
3:00
Reyna Hernandez: 
I agree, Barbara!
Tuesday June 29, 2010 3:00 Reyna Hernandez
3:00
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Thank you both for your participation in this lively discussion about an important topic.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 3:00 Mary Ann Zehr
3:00
Reyna Hernandez: 
Thank you.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 3:00 Reyna Hernandez
3:01
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Thanks again to everyone for joining us today, and to Mary Ann Zehr for moderating this chat. A transcript of this chat will be available shortly on this same page.

Make sure to check out other upcoming Education Week chats at www.edweek.org/go/chats
Tuesday June 29, 2010 3:01 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
3:01
 

 
 
 

Chat: Educating Preschoolers Whose Native Language Isn't English

Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 2 p.m. Eastern time
Illinois lawmakers have extended the category of English-language learners from K-12 students to include 3- and 4-year olds. But educators don’t agree whether it’s best for second-language learners in preschool to be served in the same way that ELLs in K-12 are. This chat focused on what kind of identification, language testing, and services are appropriate for preschoolers whose first language isn’t English.

Guests:
Barbara Bowman, chief early childhood education officer, Chicago Public Schools.
Reyna Hernandez, research and policy associate, Latino Policy Forum.
Mary Ann Zehr, Assistant Editor, Education Week, and Learning the Language blogger, moderated this chat.

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