In Chicago, more than 43 percent of children enrolled in preschool programs speak a language other than English as their primary language. Erikson is collaborating with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on a two-year research study examining the current preschool policies and practices that support these dual language learners (DLLs) — children who are learning multiple languages simultaneously.
The overarching goal of the study is to provide practical information to enable early childhood leaders and program administrators in CPS to target resources and develop a comprehensive and coherent set of policies to ensure preschool teachers are responsive and well-prepared to work with dual language learners and their families.
In spring 2011, teachers (lead and assistant) and administrators from more than 150 schools completed surveys about the DLLs they serve, how they meet the needs of DLLs and their families, and the challenges they face in doing so. As a follow-up to the survey, Erikson researchers visited seven of these schools for more in-depth data collection. Data analysis began in the summer of 2011 and will continue into early 2012.
The study is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.