Increasing Access to Higher Education for Early Care Educators who are English Language Learners

Wheelock College received funding through the Department of Early Education and Care and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education to work with the Massachusetts Readiness Center Network to examine the need for increased access to higher education for early childhood educators with limited English proficiency. The project aims to improve outcomes for children birth to age eight by:

  • Identifying key strategies to advance the education and careers of early care educators who are English language learners (ELL).

  • Identifying models and curricula that support early care educators who are ELLs and those who teach dual language learner children.

  • Making recommendations for increasing systemic responsiveness to the professional development needs of English Language Learners in early childhood education.

At Wheelock we understand that the early childhood education workforce as well as the families and children they work with come from very diverse ethno-racial and linguistic backgrounds. We also understand that as the Commonwealth's neighborhoods become more global, there is a great need for improving access to higher education for practitioners who are already teaching but are not yet English language proficient. This additional access will help ensure successful outcomes for children and families.

Wheelock College has historically worked with its partners developing strategies to reach the diverse, multilingual members of the early childhood education community, promoting access and quality education for all. Wheelock's mission—to improve the lives of children and familiesis well aligned with the Commonwealth's expressed commitment.

The expertise in Wheelock's Early Childhood Education, Language and Literacy, and Human Development departments in conducting research and policy analyses on issues related to first- and second-language acquisition and development, and most importantly the faculty's ability to create and promote language development practices that improve access for linguistically diverse practitioners affords us the opportunity to work with DEEC, EOE, and the Readiness Network in this endeavor.

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