Four Classrooms Model How Teachers Use Spanish in Head Start

Elizabeth B. Miller

Abstract


National Head Start policy mandates incorporating Dual Language Learner (DLL) children’s home language in classroom instruction. It is less clear, however, how this is actually implemented in early childhood classrooms. In four local Head Start centers in a predominantly Spanish-speaking DLL county, classroom observations helped shed light on when the home language of Spanish was used and how it may have contributed to DLL children’s school readiness skills. The observations revealed that Spanish was used to promote certain academic as well as planning and recall skills; to provide emotional caregiving; and to communicate with parents as well as during daily health routines. Thus, in line with Head Start’s “whole child” model, Spanish was used for academic, socio-emotional, and health development as well as to strengthen the home-school partnership.

Keywords


DLLs, Head Start, Spanish instruction

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.