Washington schools that receive state funding for full-day kindergarten are required to provide experiences in a world language other than English.
Young children are like sponges when it comes to languages. They soak up the sounds they hear, and their brains and mouths are more receptive to distinguishing and pronouncing new sounds than our adult brains and mouths are. At the same time, we need to be thoughtful about how we introduce new languages into a young learner’s environment because language is so connected to culture and identity. The following resources are intended to help guide schools and districts to plan for and implement successful early learning experiences with world languages, making use of resources available in your school and community:
- Kindergarten World Language Experience (PDF)
Download this handout to get ideas for implementing a World Language Experience into your full-day
Kindergarten World Language Experience Journal (Word)
Use this journal template as a starting place to help teachers document the world language experiences they’re already creating in their classrooms. This will help the school plan a program that will be manageable and meaningful.
More resources on Early Language Learning from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Asia Society, and the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL):
The most effective model for Early Language Learning in school is Dual Immersion (an umbrella term for Dual Language, Two-Way Dual Language, Full or Partial Immersion). For more information on OSPI’s work to expand the support of Dual Immersion programs in the state, visit OSPI’s
Dual Immersion Web page.
Another great resource from OSPI and the
Department of Early Learning (DEL) for how to
respect and support the home languages of young
children who are not native speakers of English
is the Washington State Early Learning and
Development Guidelines. See:
Age 5 and
Any of these activities can be done in English –
or another language – and will help children
develop strong early language and literacy
From the Guide (p. 92):
“Communication skills begin before birth.
Language is an important part of cultural
identity. Language skills begin in the child’s
home language(s). Tribal children may be
learning their tribal language at the same time
as a home language. Bilingual and bicultural
families may speak more than one language at