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Understanding Dual Language Development

A substantial and growing number of preschool aged children are learning English as a second language. In 2006-2007, approximately 42 percent of California kindergarten children were identified as English learners. Current estimates indicate that approximately 39 percent of all children aged three to five are learning English as second language.  However, these estimates are merely that, as these data are collected from state-supported preschools and a large number of English learners do not attend these programs.

boys looking at bugThe California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1 (CDE, 2008) uses the term English learner to describe “…children whose first language is not English and encompasses children learning English for the first time in the preschool setting as well as children who have developed various levels of English proficiency” (p. 103). However, a variety of terms are used in the field to describe children who are learning more than one language. To best serve children who are learning English as a second language, it is important to understand the terminology and the paths to becoming bilingual.

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