WIDA Early Years

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WIDA Early Years has taken an active stance in recent months to promote free resources that are more relevant than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

A visual resource in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese to promote the use of home languages among family members.

Free activity booklets in English, Spanish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese that are appropriate for young children ages 2-7 years.

Background: Housed at UW-Madison, WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for culturally and linguistically diverse children and youth through high-quality standards, assessments, research, and professional learning for educators. According to WIDA Early Years Director Lorena Mancilla, “WIDA Early Years promotes equitable early care and education opportunities for young multilingual children. We see strength, potential, and endless possibilities in the cultural and linguistic diversity young children and families bring to ECE programs.”

WIDA Early Years focuses specifically on the language development of multilingual children in ECE settings. It was established to support the growing number of children in ECE settings who are developing two or more languages. WIDA Early Years partners with state agencies to provide comprehensive services and access to resources for state leaders, higher education faculty, and ECE professionals who serve multilingual children and families.

“Through our work, we advance WIDA’s Can Do Philosophy – an asset-based mindset. Our passion is to help ECE professionals apply an equity lens to their practice to ensure that multilingual children receive early learning opportunities that are culturally and linguistically responsive, as well as developmentally appropriate,” Mancilla explained.

The WIDA Early Years Member State network includes Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. Visit the WIDA Early Years website to learn more about the resources available.

2020 PDG funds went to:

  • WIDA’s support for setting long-term goals, policy work, outreach and technical assistance for state-level initiatives and capacity-building focused on multilingual children and families
  • Statewide electronic access to the WIDA Early Years Promising Practices Implementation Kit

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