Preparing Early Childhood Educators to Work with Emergent Bilinguals



professional development, emergent bilinguals, Head Start, translanguaging


Classrooms across the United States have become more culturally and linguistically diverse, and educators report feeling not well prepared to work with children who are learning more than one language. In early childhood education, teacher beliefs and efficacy influence classroom practices. English is privileged over other languages, and children who are bilingual are often treated as if they have a deficit. This pilot study describes the development and implementation of a professional development workshop series for Head Start educators that applies a strengths-based perspective to emergent bilingual learning and explores how a translanguaging approach can not only empower children and educators but also engage families, expand learning opportunities, and make families a resource for educators. Nine educators shared their feedback on their experience of the workshop series and the content. Educators’ positive takeaways highlight the importance of ongoing professional development to improve practices of early childhood educators and the usefulness of a translanguaging approach for working with young children and their families.

Author Biographies

Maria Jose A. Dias, East Tennessee State University

Maria Jose Dias is a doctoral candidate in the department of Early Childhood Education.

Jaime D. Moore, Dice Writing, LLC

Dr. Moore is an independet Editor, Methodologist, & Writing Coach