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Dual Language Early Childhood Education Concentration

Dual Language Early Childhood Education Concentration

The Dual Language Early Childhood Education Concentration is offered in both the BA and MA degree programs, and is designed for working adults engaged in Dual Language Early Childhood Education and related fields. It an off-campus degree program of intensive studies with a low-residency model at Goddard College’s Plainfield, Vermont Campus or Seattle Community Campus.

Language Expectations

The program uses the Soy Bilingüe Adult Dual Language (ADL) model developed by the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy. This means that during the residency, Spanish is used for half the time and English is used half the time. Students are invited to use Spanish during Spanish language time and English during English language time. Students are encouraged to take risks and try out their emerging second language development during small or large group discussions. Translation equipment is used initially to stimulate deep level thinking and rigorous academic exchange between the two language groups. Approximately half the participants are Spanish dominant and half are English dominant. Bilinguals of other languages are also welcome.

Spanish dominant and English dominant students are matched for residency activities and work between the residencies as bilingual buddies (language partners). Each member of the pair is charged with the task of supporting the second language development of their bilingual buddy. [Note: Other language combinations will likely emerge in the future, i.e. Cantonese and English or Somali and English.]

Who Would Benefit from this Concentration

Potential students might be:

  • Early Childhood Educators,
  • Head Start Teachers,
  • Preschool Teachers,
  • Education Coordinators,
  • Curriculum Developers,
  • Teacher Educators and Coaches,
  • ECE Directors,
  • Artists working with the intersection of Language, Culture, and Young Children,
  • Afterschool Educators,
  • Parent-school Liaisons,
  • Certified teachers pursuing MA degrees who are interested in seeking further study in Dual Language Early Childhood Education as a means of expanding their resources in their communities.

Degree Criteria

In the process of addressing degree requirements, it is expected that students will be demonstrate competency in the following components of the Soy Bilingüe Curriculum:

  1. Building the Learning Community
  2. Forming the Teaching Teams
  3. Developing the Language Plan
  4. Organizing the Classroom Environment
  5. Establishing the Daily Routine
  6. Establishing Development and Learning Objectives for the Children
  7. Assessing and Documenting the Children’s Growth and Development
  8. Focusing the Curriculum on the Children’s Language, Culture, and Interests
  9. Teaching, Scaffolding, and Engaging the Children
  10. Reflecting on the Information Gathered about the Children in Your Classroom

Example Areas of Study

Soy Bilingüe Seminar

This Soy Bilingüe Seminar, developed by the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, is designed to provide a framework for teaching children whose primary language is one other than English as well as teaching a second language to English speaking children.  It covers relevant theoretical and practical information related to bilingual early childhood and elementary education methods with a goal of the development of cultural competence and respect for learners growing up in a bilingual world. 
The emphasis is on the development of a language plan, selecting options for organizing language usage (time based or teacher based models), and responding to the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of children and their families in curriculum planning.  The natural process of acculturation (or cultural transmission) through song-games is a central component of this class. 
Participants will learn various folkloric dances, songs, song-games, finger-plays, lullabies, and rhythms. Expect regular demonstrations, high-level interactions, and opportunities to practice in simulations, presentations, and role-plays.

Theater of the Oppressed

This class is designed to provide an in depth introduction to the theory and praxis of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. It covers the main components of the Theater of the Oppressed including Teatro Foro, Image Theater, and Invisible Theater.
Students examine the traditional and problematic definitions of concepts in theater and analyze the profound coercive nature of tragedy as it pertains to contemporary forms of art and representation and its main use as a representational system of repression. Oppression (and isms) of various forms are examined, particulary those present in the lives of participants. Through Theater of the Oppressed exercises, students are able to “rehearse” many possible responses and resistance to oppression and to explore practices in freedom. Students also critically examine the content, authority, and portrayal of representation in theater, film, and television. They effectively become actors and playwrights of their own stories by virtue of deconstructing coercive theater and constructing a theater of their own.

Human Development and Learning

This course provides a survey of human physical, psychological, and social development throughout the life cycle. This class explores in depth how themes, which begin in early childhood, recur later in the life cycle. 
Building on the work of Dr. Leticia Nieto regarding Life Cycle Spirals, students explore the theoretical constructs of Darder, Freire, Erikson, Piaget, Vygotsky, Hale, Dewey, Gardner, and object relations theory. This exploration of life-span development takes place within the framework of social justice and the social construction of knowledge. Students examine the ways that learners construct their knowledge of the world by engaging with others through living and acting in the world. They also examine the ways that human beings are well nurtured in culturally democratic learning communities, which support academic success and social responsibility for all. 
Students are guided in using developmental concepts from readings to reflect on their own life cycles and development of voice. Emphasis is placed on the bridges between psychosocial development stages. Students work with the concepts of “holding environments” and “cultural democracy.” Students learn to recognize optimum human patterns and address them from a developmental perspective.  The focus is on developmental themes, empathy, and culture. A research project focusing on a developmental issue and intense observations will be a requirement of this class.

Imagination and Cultural Expression with Young Children

Students will explore the creative process through art, music, poetry, and story telling. The emphasis is on the arts as communication, as a reflection of culture and history, and as a tool for community building and interacting in all aspects of the curriculum.
  • Students examine the benefits of arts-based curriculum in the development of imagination and cognitive, language and communication, and social skills.
  • The course demonstrates the use of cultural arts in developing Total Physical Response (TPR) and other language development support strategies.
  • Students examine examples of multiple intelligences and planning curriculum (using the cultural arts) to respond to a variety of strengths and kinds of intelligences.
  • Students gain skills in recognizing and defining various poetic forms, musical rhythms, and story telling approaches (including conceptualization of a personal style, development of the ideas, techniques, and organization of the art’s elements to form creative work).

Concientization: Reading the World

This course on critical thinking, conscientization, and reading the world prepares students to use their capacity of reason to examine the power dynamics impacting children, families, and communities; affect change in the quality of education and life; and incorporate their emotional and cultural knowledge as valid tools for reasoning.
  • The works of Antonia Darder, Paulo Freire, lisa delpit, William Cox, Frederick Douglas, and David Frisby are used as a theoretical base for this class, which will examine the historical context of the origin as well as ways of undoing various forms of oppression (such as racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and oppression based on one’s indigenous status).
  • Concepts of fear of freedom, collusion with oppression, internalized oppression, internalized superiority, reading the world, conscientization, dialogue, resistance, community campaigns, and organizing strategies will be explored.
  • Students are challenged to examine these influences on their own growth and perceptions of human behavior, to define their personal ethics within the context of contemporary society, and to search for creative personal, professional, and community responses to inequality and bias.

Working with Families in a Diverse Society

This course serves to support students in recognizing parents as the first and primary educators of their young children, strengthen their awareness of culturally specific child rearing and educating practices, and provide examples of ways of entering into dialogue and partnerships with parents. It fosters a collaborative approach to working with families, as partners in advocating for children in their communities.
The course examines the diverse make-up of families, various culturally specific models of organizing family life, and strategies for raising children without internalizing oppression or superiority. Cross-cultural competency, the development of voice and transformation, and envisioning the kind of world a community would like to bring into being are central to this course. Students examine the role of respect, dignity, love, and collaboration as underlying components for effective interaction with children and families. 
Students practice progressive and effective approaches to working with families such as:
  • Maintaining an open, friendly, and cooperative relationship with each child’s family; inviting parents to be a part of the classroom and program.
  • Supporting the children’s relationships with their families.
  • Helping parents understand the program’s and classroom’s language plan.
  • Knowing parents’ views on such issues as the use of first and second languages within the program, child rearing, and biculturalism.
  • Supporting the families’ desire to communicate their language and cultural heritage to children through cultural practices.


This course focuses on the development of language within its social context and its implications as one of the most powerful transmitters of culture. The role of language as a tool of social domination or liberation is explored. Emphasis is placed upon:
  • issues of bilingualism and literacy as they relate to the process of bicultural development (from the work of Antonia Darder) in United States society;
  • analyzing primary and second language acquisition;
  • and instruction of bilingual and bicultural learners.

Students reflect on sociolinguistic issues within their own history and current professional, personal, and community contexts. The phenomena of regional variations in language, dialects, and change will be examined. The Spanglish and Ebonics languages will be explored as case studies in sociolinguistics.

Play, Language, Culture, and Literacy

This course examines definitions of literacy, the significance of literacy skills, and literacy development among young children and their families in dual language and multilingual communities. Using Freire’s notion of reading the world as well as reading the word and the concept of trilitracy from the Teaching Umoja Participatory Action Research (PAR) 15-Year Commitment as a base, students develop a theoretical framework and set of strategies for supporting emergent literacy skills in young children, supporting continuing literacy skills in young school-age children, and enhancing family literacy involvement.
  • The interconnections of language, culture, dramatic play, using tools and materials to represent their experience, and reading are explored.
  • The course includes an examination of the development of symbolic behaviors and the role of adults in supporting children's play, language, cultural expression, and literacy.
  • Students will examine developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant curriculum and assessment design for diverse literacy learners.
  • Students develop strategies for supporting phonemic awareness, book knowledge, print awareness, sound-letter matches, vocabulary and conversation development, comprehension and critical thinking, love of reading, and writing.
  • Early literacy approaches specific to particular languages and writing systems are explored and compared.

Culturally Relevant Anti-Bias Approaches to Education

This class introduces the foundational concepts, models, and rationale for developing culturally relevant anti-bias curriculum, with a particular focus on early childhood education and developmentally appropriate practice. Attitudes and behaviors towards others in the areas of gender identity, physical characteristics, culture, abilities, religion, indigenous status, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class will be addressed. Other content will include: developmental issues, curriculum models, analysis of resources and materials, and beginning advocacy. Specific strategies for working with both European-American families and families of color and the impact of racial, cultural, homophobic, gender, age, religious, indigenous status, and economic class bias on children and families will be addressed. The course will also cover teaching children to recognize and resist bias and to understand and reject rejection.

Working with Children with Disabilities

Students will engage in discussions, activities, and observations pertaining to the key theories, philosophies, and programs that have supported the development of early childhood special education. Relevant federal and state laws and regulations and local policies will be analyzed. Best practices in early childhood special education and major characteristics, etiologies, and effective intervention approaches for young children with special needs will be emphasized. This course will also support understandings of service delivery systems that provide early intervention services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with special needs or risk conditions.
This course is designed to provide participants with opportunities to observe multidisciplinary service provisions in early intervention services, and to allow students to critically analyze the effectiveness and degree of family-centered focus that programs have as they relate to young children and families. The focus will be on inclusion, the development of friendships and a vibrant community of learners, linguistically and culturally appropriate assessment and referral, effective classroom management and guidance techniques, individual plans for children, team work, and child-centered teaching. Intense observations of young children and teachers who work with children with disabilities will be a requirement of this class. 
Students will also submit a research project and presentation of an issue that is relevant to  professionals, families, and children with disabilities.

Pedagogia (Implementing Programs, Guidance, Curriculum)

This course guides teachers in creating socially oriented, child-centered, cultural arts based integrated curricula for young children, age 0-8 years in dual language, multilingual, and culturally diverse early childhood environments.
  • Using the Soy Bilingüe Curriculum as a guide, students will create a professional portfolio documenting their theoretical framework, learning of strategies and techniques, and experiences working with children. 
  • This course explores the learning materials appropriate to different ages and the function of culture, play, and creativity in curriculum development.  Focus is on use of reflective practice to develop child-centered, integrated curricula for infants, toddlers, preschool programs, and school-aged programs. 
  • This course will particularly address the assessment and programming needs of linguistically and culturally diverse groups of children and families, and will include strategies for assessing and planning for children’s first and second language development. It will also highlight the research of the Teaching Umoja Participatory Action Research (PAR) 15-Year Commitment.
  • The use of portfolio assessment and documentation of learning and development are featured.
  • Students will gain an understanding of how the needs identified relate to a larger societal context. The course covers Participatory Action Research as a model (featuring the work of the King County African American Child Care Task Force) for assessing needs, as well as culturally relevant assessing and programming.

Dual Language Practicum

Students participate in an internship in an early childhood or primary classroom in a bilingual, bicultural, dual language, or multilingual school. This course also includes a reflective seminar where students discuss their teaching experiences with an advisor and other students (in person, in a conference call, or online).
Students are expected to solo teach for a minimum of three weeks as a part of their internship.  Solo teaching includes all the planning, curriculum development, and teaching for at least three weeks.  Solo teaching includes taking full responsibility for all instructional and non-instructional tasks.  Students create a professional portfolio of their internship experience.

Introduction to Participatory Action Research

In Participatory Action Research (PAR), those being researched and those conducting the research are one and the same, research is conducted by a community of participants, and the research is aimed at  understanding the particpants’ worlds in order to change them. It is about improving the quality of life for a community according to the visions they create for the kind of world they would like to bring into being.
  • This course also supports students in developing knowledge and skills to understand and use a variety of current qualitative methodologies such as ethnography, narrative analysis, case study, and interviewing strategies and methods.
  • Participatory Action Research (PAR) introduces a method that is ideal for researchers who are committed to co-developing research programs with people rather than for people. The course provides a history of this technique, its various strands, and the underlying tenets that guide most projects. The culturally responsive PAR strategies and experiences of the King County African American Child Care Taskforce, the King County Latino Child Care Taskforce, and the Teaching Umoja Participatory Action Research (PAR) 15 Year Commitment will be examined.
  • In addition, McIntire’s three characteristics of PAR will be explored: (1) The active participation of researchers and participants in the co-construction of knowledge; (2) the promotion of self- and critical awareness that leads to individual, collective, and/or social change; and (3) the building of alliances between researchers and participants in the planning, implementation, and dissemination of the research process.

Meaning Making in Educational Research

Students engage in reflective practice and self-evaluation of their professional roles, effectiveness in their current endeavors, and their philosophical foundations related to their professional field.  Students will develop a plan of action for surveying others in similar positions in response to identified content areas as part of the evaluation process.  Students will cover relevant research and practical information related to dual language early childhood methods with a goal of using circle time, small group time, and story time to support second language development in dual language preschool classrooms.   The emphasis is also on the exploration of different assessment tools and straregies to set the language framework in the curriculum (for first and second language development).

Senior Study (BA) / Master's Thesis (MA)

Students are required to complete a culminating project in the form of an Undergraduate Senior Study (BA) or Master's Thesis (MA) in an area of interest in Dual Language Early Childhood Education. This is the work of the student’s last semester and reflects the integration of theory and practice.
Students are required to plan, implement, document, and report on an intensive project of their own design. They will demonstrate mastery of educational research methodologies and documentation. The student will describe their personal connection and potential biases with the proposed study. Students will pose a specific research question to be examined and addressed with their study. They will conduct a thorough review of the literature, scholarship, and research related to their topic. They will gather original data using linguistically and culturally relevant research methods. Interviews will be transcribed, typed, coded, and analyzed. Students will organize and present their data and their findings. They will then discuss, make conclusions, and share recommendations for their study.

Note: The first twelve equivalencies were adapted from the Soy Bilingüe Preschool Professional Certificate with permission from the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy.