Early Language Development

two children reading a book together at a desk

Tools and resources to promote multilingual children’s language development

Multilingual children learn and develop two or more languages as they navigate their home, community and early care and education (ECE) settings. Children’s experiences, environments, exposure to languages and opportunities to use language all play key roles in their early language development.

WIDA Early Years offers tools and resources to help ECE professionals plan equitable and engaging learning opportunities for young multilingual children. Learn more by exploring the links below.

Early Language Development Standards

The WIDA Early Language Development Standards, available for English and Spanish language development, are designed for use with children ages 2.5–5.5 years old and correspond to five domains of children’s development and learning: approaches to learning, language and communication development, cognition and general knowledge, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development.

English

Standard 1: Language of Social and Emotional Development
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the area of social and emotional development
Standard 2: Language of Early Language Development and Literacy
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of early language development and literacy
Standard 3: Language of Mathematics
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of mathematics
Standard 4: Language of Science
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of science
Standard 5: Language of Social Studies
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of social studies
Standard 6: Language of Physical Development
Multilingual children communicate information, ideas, and concepts for learning and development in the content area of physical development

Spanish

Estándar 1: El lenguaje del desarrollo social y emocional
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de desarrollo social y emocional
Estándar 2: El lenguaje del desarrollo del idioma y alfabetización temprana
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos  para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de contenido del idioma y alfabetización temprana
Estándar 3: El lenguaje de las matemáticas
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de contenido de las matemáticas
Estándar 4: El lenguaje de las ciencias
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de contenido de las ciencias
Estándar 5: El lenguaje de los estudios sociales
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de contenido de los estudios sociales
Estándar 6: El lenguaje del desarrollo físico
Niños multilingües comunican información, ideas y conceptos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo en el área de contenido del desarrollo físico

Language-Focused Approach

Taking a language-focused approach to instructional planning applies an equity and language lens to the design of engaging learning opportunities for young children. This approach not only promotes children’s overall early learning and development, it also promotes multilingual children’s home language and English language development.

Are you an ECE professional in an Early Years member state and want to learn more about how to use these tools? If so, explore Section 2 of your state's Making Connections document.

illustration of two students at desk with speech bubbles and a large sketch on the table

Resources for Educators and Practitioners

How early language development standards correspond to states’ early learning standards
Promote equity for multilingual children and their families.
Key concepts related to the language development of young multilingual children
early care practitioner with children at table, arranging blocks

WIDA Early Years Membership Benefits

WIDA Early Years membership provides states access to tools, resources and services designed to support the unique needs of young multilingual children in ECE settings.

two younger students at science lab table

Can Do Descriptors

Understand what multilingual children can do at various stages of language development as they engage in early care and education contexts.