The Foundation for Child Development has commissioned extensive research on immigrants, dual language learners, and children from low-income families who face unique challenges in school and in life. Given the increasing number of children within these groups, there is a pressing need to understand the most effective instructional strategies and social supports that can promote their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Such approaches must also view racial/ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity as assets that help children achieve their full potential — these factors are not deficits.
However there are real concerns as research shows that these sub-groups of children are also vulnerable at an early age and can be at a disadvantage when it comes to economic well-being, health outcomes, safety, and behavioral concerns and community connectedness — all of which affect educational achievement. Leveling the field for immigrants and dual language learners ensures that early care and education benefits all children — providing opportunities for all children to learn, thrive, and grow.
Investing in early care and education provides an equal footing from the very start for immigrants and dual language learners. Research demonstrates how children within these groups benefit from high-quality early care and education, and at times make even stronger gains than their peers. We do know some aspects of what works, but we still need to know more about what works or not to be responsive to their particular learning and developmental needs.