High-quality child care and early education can build a strong foundation for young children's healthy development and ensure that children have all they need to thrive. This knowledge drives CLASP's work to promote policies that support both child development and the needs of low-income working parents. We support policies that expand resources for child care and early education initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels. We also study the relationships between child care subsidy systems, Head Start and Early Head Start, state pre-kindergarten programs, and other birth to five early education efforts, to advance ideas that ensure these systems address the full range of needs of children and families.
Find out where and when
our experts are speaking.
Early Education is not One-Size-Fits-All: Addressing the Unique Needs of Dual Language Learners
More than one in four (27 percent) young children under age 6 in the United States have at least one parent who speaks a language other than English, and one in seven (14 percent) has at least one parent who is limited English proficient (LEP). Many of these children and some of their parents will learn English while learning or speaking another language. For early learning programs to fully reach their goals of supporting children's growth, development, and school readiness, they must be intentional about meeting the educational needs of dual language learners (DLLs).
A recent report from the Migration Policy Institute identifies particular features of early learning programs that most effectively support DLLs. The report finds a few key elements that influence the quality of early education programs for DLLs including accessibility and affordability, language of instruction, instructional practices, assessment, teacher and classroom quality, and school-family partnerships. When these program and policy components are designed using the research available that supports the key elements necessary, high-quality programs for DLLs can produce positive outcomes for children. Some of these programs may already exist as evidenced by a recent comprehensive review of research on young Latino and Spanish-speaking children confirming that public programs like Head Start and public pre-k are helping DLLs make important academic gains.
Understanding the key elements that influence the success and development of participants and integrating them into policies and program design will ensure that children are able to grow, develop, and enter school ready to learn. The changing demographics of the young child population should spur new thinking in the design and implementation of early learning programs. We must ensure that DLLs are not just included, but optimally served, in high-quality early learning programs.
Strong Start for Children CampaignTogether with our early childhood partners, CLASP is participating in the Strong Start for Children: Building America's Future campaign to advance the president's early learning proposal READ MORE »
- Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews | Dec 02, 2013 Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality
- Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews | Sep 09, 2013 Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies
- Child Care and Early Education | Jul 09, 2013 Served Up: The Child Care Challenges of Restaurant Workers
- Stephanie Schmit and Jamie Colvard | Sep 13, 2012 Expanding Access to Early Head Start: State Initiatives for Infants and Toddlers at Risk
- Hannah Matthews | Sep 11, 2012 At Risk: Early Care and Education Funding and Sequestration
- Hannah Matthews (CLASP), Helen Blank (NWLC), Adele Robinson (NAEYC) and Kathleen Havey (FFYF) | Dec 06, 2013 CLASP/NWLC/NAEYC/FFYF AUDIO CONFERENCE CALL
- Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews | Nov 25, 2013 Caring for Babies: How State Child Care Policies Can Support Infants and Toddlers
- Christine Johnson-Staub and Hannah Matthews | Nov 25, 2013 State and Community Level Policy and Finance Strategies for Promoting and Supporting Developmental Screening and Preventive Health Practices
- Christine Johnson-Staub | Nov 19, 2013 Promote Family Engagement
- Stephanie Schmit, Hannah Matthews, Sheila Smith (NCCP), and Taylor Robbins (NCCP) | Nov 14, 2013 Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality