Preschool Pathway Award: “Becoming Bilingual”

The purpose of the award at preschool "graduation" is to help young children and their families feel pride and excitement about becoming bilingual. As children enter Kindergarten, their families make an important decision about the kind of language program in which they will enroll their children. For this reason, it is an important moment in the educational journey to support families to think about the value they place on bilingualism for their child and to provide information about dual language immersion (two way) programs, bilingual programs, heritage language programs and other options. Developmentally, this is also an important phase in which children's attitudes about their home language, and about people who speak languages other than their own are being shaped. The Pathway to Bilingualism award is a statement of values. It is a participation award given to all children in preschool programs that meet criteria demonstrating active support for the development of dual language children. The program criteria include:

  • The preschool actively affirms the value of bilingualism (e.g., signs and posters are in multiple languages, children are routinely exposed to songs and phrases and chants in different languages, adults speak about how wonderful it is to be able to speak different languages)
  • The preschool staff educate parents about how to support dual language development (e.g., host workshops, provide written materials, and interact regularly with parents about raising bilingual children)
  • The preschool actively promotes rich oral language development in the child's home language (whenever possible)
  • The preschool actively engages children in developing a love of books and print