ERIC Number: ED377977
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
More Than One Language: A Challenge to Head Start.
This paper addresses questions and concerns of Head Start staff who strive to develop and implement programs to meet the needs of preschoolers who are linguistically and culturally different. The first concern addressed is the educational rights of children whose primary language is not English, and the nature of language assistance programs provided by Head Start. Preventing erroneous interpretation of linguistic and cultural differences as learning disabilities or behavior disorders and consequent inappropriate referrals of children is the second concern discussed in the paper. This is followed by some important questions about second language acquisition: what are the typical characteristics of children who are learning two languages; how can English be taught effectively as a second language; and how can Head Start teachers become role models for children who are learning a second language? In addition, developmentally appropriate strategies and practice for linguistically and culturally different preschoolers are considered, such as acceptance and respect of their language and culture, and promotion of pride in their linguistic talents. The final concern is ways of collaborating and communicating with parents of these children to promote their preschool success. Four categories of behavior are examined--sharing space, touching, eye contact, time ordering of interactions--that must be taken into account while communicating with families of differing cultural backgrounds. The paper concludes that the most challenging task facing the Head Start staff is to serve a multicultural population. Contains a 13-item bibliography and a list of additional resources. (BAC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Education Development Center, Inc., Newton, MA.