A guide for working with Multilingual Learners in Pre-K through 3rd grade.

The P–3 Multilingual Learning Toolkit provides an introduction to supporting young Multilingual Learners (MLs), who include both Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and English Learners (ELs). It is intended for educators of children from preschool–3rd grade, particularly those who may have limited opportunities to participate in training on how to support ML children. The Toolkit describes the foundational principles and evidence-based strategies for instruction that are critical for teachers to know.1 Teachers can use it to learn about evidence-based strategies. School or district administrators will find the Toolkit useful in understanding how to support their teachers and inform decisions about the training and resources to provide.

These practices within the Toolkit are distilled from a large body of research over the last few decades on how to support the language and academic development of Multilingual Learners.2 It synthesizes, summarizes, and builds upon a wide range of existing resources. 

This resource directly complements recent efforts by the California Department of Education (CDE) to invest in promoting professional development (PD) for educators of MLs and builds on the contributions of the PD developers that were awarded CDE grants to provide ML-focused PD.

Further, the Toolkit aligns with the vision of California’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, which emphasizes the importance of providing DLLs in early learning and care programs with culturally relevant experiences and high-quality language exposure in both English and their home language. In support of this vision and with a deep commitment to MLs, this resource aims to support educators in promoting optimal success for MLs.

About The Toolkit Classroom - MLT - Multilingual Learning Toolkit
Allison Shelly/The Verbatim Agency for EDUimages

Up to 60% of California children are learning multiple languages and need support from educators.

The Toolkit introduces key ideas and practices that can and should be explored in greater depth by accessing the resources linked throughout the website. Using a few of the strategies in isolation does not ensure full access to learning and effective participation for MLs. Ideally these strategies will be embedded in a comprehensive evidence-based language approach to ensure equitable learning for all children. (See here for some examples of effective PD programs with a comprehensive set of best practice strategies in the context of a coherent model.) 

In addition, these strategies should be continuously practiced, reflected on, and strengthened in the context of professional learning. Lastly, we acknowledge that many educators may not have fluency in the languages of some of the children and families they serve, but even so, there are many strategies they can use to effectively support learning.