August 31st, 2021 | New America

If you are a teacher of young children in California you’re likely to have students in your classroom who come from a different cultural background than your own. In addition to native English and Spanish speakers, you may be teaching children who speak Arabic, Cantonese, or Farsi at home with their families.

Experts and policymakers in California say supporting children in becoming bilingual and bicultural is a key part of building the workforce California will need in the future. Yet in order to succeed, they say, we must start early. For teachers leading these diverse classrooms, questions about how they can help these children get ready for kindergarten and develop a love of learning that they’ll need to be successful as they progress in school can be overwhelming. This is especially true if they don’t speak their students’ home language.