Early Education Conference

May 02, 2012

The Multilingual Action Council recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by bringing 120-130 early childhood professionals to Wheelock College for a conference on the developmental characteristics of children in early childhood with a special emphasis on language development for both mono- and bilingual children. The conference featured a presentation by Sherri Killins, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care. (See photos from the conference.)

The conference included information on how to plan and implement curricular activities that promote early literacy development for all children, including English Language Learners. In addition to Killins, presenters included: Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Associate Professor, Wheelock College; and Hanna Gebretensae, Director of CASE, Aspire Institute, Wheelock College.

The presentations were followed by smaller group discussions, where participants focused on the following topics:

  • The three domains of Child/Human Development, and issues of special interest within these domains when working and interacting with English Language Learners in education settings.
  • Typical processes of language development for monolingual and bilingual children.
  • Four components of language development: phonology, semantics, grammar/syntax, and pragmatics and what is typical for monolingual children and English Language Learners.
  • Typical stages of language development and discuss how they are the same and different for monolingual children and English Language Learners.
  • Activities that support and promote the development of language and literacy in all children, including English Language Learners.
  • Understanding the contexts where the child functions daily and their impact on his/her development, especially those that impact the child's socio-emotional learning.

The Multilingual Action Council (MAC) is a council of child serving professionals, advocates, educators, higher education, and parents from multilingual communities. MAC is an independent organization hosted by Wheelock College.

Attendees listening to keynote presentations
Multilingual Action Council Conference on Early Childhood

Presenters Eleonora Villegas-Reimers (left) and Commissioner Sherri Killins
Multilingual Action Council Conference Presenters Eleanora Villegas-Reimers and Sherri Killins

Presenter Hanna Gebretensae
Multilingual Action Council Presenter Hanna Gebretensae

Group discussions followed the presentations
Multilingual Action Council Conference Small Group Discussions


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