Language for Learning

teacher showing young students a chemistry set

Understand the language your multilingual students need to be successful in school

As children grow and transition from early care and education (ECE) settings into K-12 classrooms – as well as between ECE or school, home and community settings – they use language for new, expanding and different purposes. WIDA advances linguistically relevant instruction to support educators and administrators as they create meaningful opportunities for multilingual children and youth to participate in learning.

From early childhood through Grade 12, using language for learning is vital to the success of multilingual learners. In other words, these children and youth need the kind of language necessary to participate in activities designed to help them acquire the knowledge, skills and practices that support young children’s readiness for Kindergarten and their ability to achieve academically in Grades K-12.

Language for Learning in the Early Years

As children develop, they use language to play, express themselves and interact with others. WIDA Early Years is a system that supports ECE practitioners in planning instruction and creating language-rich environments that support the learning and development of young multilingual children.

The WIDA Early Years comprehensive system of products and services is informed by:

The WIDA Early Years Guiding Principles of Language Development

  • Outlines the theoretical foundations related to language use as children grow and develop
  • Marks the importance of play and interaction in language development
  • Highlights factors influencing language development

The Can Do Philosophy

  • Describes our belief that multilingual learners, their educators and their families bring unique linguistic, cultural, experiential, and social and emotional knowledge, skills and practices to the classroom
  • Empowers educators to unleash multilingual learners’ potential for engagement in learning, language development and self-advocacy

Language for Learning
in K-12

As part of its commitment to the academic achievement of multilingual learners, WIDA offers a comprehensive system of standards and assessments to help educators design instruction that advances multilingual learners’ language development.

WIDA's comprehensive system of standards and assessments is informed by:

The WIDA Guiding Principles

  • Outlines the theoretical foundations related to language use
  • Marks the importance of context in language development
  • Explains the process of language development and the factors influencing it

The Can Do Philosophy

  • Describes our belief that multilingual learners, their educators, and their families bring unique linguistic, cultural, experiential, and social and emotional knowledge, skills, and practices to the classroom
  • Empowers educators to unleash multilingual learners’ potential for engagement in learning, language development, and self-advocacy

For more information about the theories and approaches that reflect WIDA’s stance on language development and critical language awareness, see The WIDA Standards Framework and Its Theoretical Foundations.

view from back of classroom of student raising hand

Understanding What Students Can Do

An asset-based approach to working with language learners.

two young students talking and reading from tablet

Doing and Talking Math and Science

Resources to help educators engage all learners in meaningful STEM discussion.

group of young students gathered around a teacher showing them a tablet

Teaching with Standards

Tips on using WIDA Standards for planning and lesson delivery.

students writing in classroom

Understanding Language Learners

WIDA supports you in understanding the strengths and needs of your multilingual learners.