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PEER releases series on supporting multilingual learners

August 31, 2020
by Joanna Meyer

The Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER) is pleased to announce the release of its series of policy and practice briefs focused on supporting multilingual learners, which was produced as a part of the partnership’s dual language learner/English learner project. Multilingual learners are children who have experienced consistent exposure to two or more languages; these children are often referred to as dual language learners (DLL) prior to kindergarten or English learners (ELs) if they are identified for supplemental language supports when they enter the K-12 system.

When PEER conducted a collaborative process in 2015 to establish the partnership’s long-term research priorities, partner organizations agreed that one of the most pressing questions facing early childhood education stakeholders in Connecticut was how to effectively support the growing population of multilingual learners. ECE stakeholders were seeking concrete guidance on how to use the available resources to best serve these learners in educational settings for children from birth through age 8. PEER received a grant from the Spencer Foundation’s Research Practice Partnerships program in November 2016 to support work on this topic.

PEER’s supporting multilingual learners series includes the following briefs, which are have been added to the partnership’s Publications page:

  • Introductory brief that provides context related to multilingual learners and their families
  • Instruction brief focused on effective teaching practices and learning environments for multilingual learners
  • Assessment brief focused on measuring the development of multilingual learners
  • Family engagement resource list for Connecticut organizations that wish to partner more effectively with the families of multilingual learners.

As part of this project, PEER also conducted a study that explored existing practices and supports for multilingual learners within preschool and kindergarten settings in PEER communities and examined the association of these practices and supports with child and family outcomes (specifically child attendance and parent-teacher relationship quality). PEER is in the process of finalizing a brief that describes the study findings.

The third element of this project was a pilot Professional Learning Community (PLC) conducted by Cooperative Education Services (C.E.S.), one of PEER’s founding members. The PLC was offered to Bridgeport preschool teacher-administrator teams to test this format for translating PEER’s research on multilingual learners into meaningful professional development experiences for early childhood educators. For more information about the supporting multilingual learners PLC, please contact Suzanne Clement at C.E.S.

Submitted by Joanna Meyer on August 31, 2020