This article reports on a two-year study of the receptive language development of forty-five native Spanish speaking preschool children who were placed by parent request in three different program modelsEnglish with Spanish support, Transitional Bilingual (TBE) and Dual Languagewith varying exposure to English and Spanish instruction. Outcomes on measures of receptive vocabulary skills in both English and Spanish were examined. Professional development for teachers and paraprofessionals is also described. Results indicate that all programs show significant learning effects, providing further support for the value of quality preschool instruction for bilingual learners and validate the practice of providing program choice to families. All programs showed significant gains in English and none suffered significant losses in Spanish. However, analysis at the individual student level reveals a bi-modal distribution of gains in each program. The results suggest the need for further inquiry into: 1) the optimal level of native language support children need based on a language profile taking first and second language competence into consideration; 2) on-going use of data for instructional design; and 3) the value of differentiated, high quality professional development based on scientifically-based reading research.
Early Childhood Education