Leda holds her milk carton up in the air toward me and grunts, "Uuhhh!""Do you need something?" I ask."I no can't," she replies with a sad face."You can't open your milk?" I reply, and Leda shakes her head no. "Then you need to ask for help. You can say, 'Can you help me, please?'""Help me, please!" Leda repeats with a smile. I show her how to open her milk and she promptly says, "Tank you!"
I recognize that good teaching practices for English Language Learners (ELLs) are generally good teaching practices for early childhood in general -- picture cues, hand gestures, and teaching students how to use words to communicate -- but I also recognize that pre-k for ELLs can be dramatically enhanced by additional supports and services. I was impressed to read that the School District of Lancaster, PA is providing additional funding to enhance the pre-k education of their ELL students. They will be providing "a preschool English-as-a-second-language teacher, three bilingual assistants, three literacy coaches and an advocate to serve as liaison between the schools and the prekindergarten students and their families." These are wonderful supports that will help teachers, family members, and most importantly, students, get the most out of their pre-k experience.