A study out of Australia analyzing teacher-child language interactions in early eduction settings could shed light on why children from non-English speaking backgrounds often start school with weaker language skills than their English-speaking peers.
“This is truly a crisis because two-thirds of our children in this country are reading below grade level,” said filmmaker and director Jenny Mackenzie. “We have to decide, do we have the political will to stand up and say ‘Enough?’ This is a huge issue and it is continuing to perpetuate systemic racism because we are leaving Black and Brown children behind?”
The City of Birmingham has made its largest investment ever in early childhood education, with a $1 million investment in Birmingham Talks, an initiative that provides curriculum, innovative technology, and personalized coaching to help build language skills in preschool-aged children.
Amid the stress and disruption of the pandemic, parents and caregivers have had less time and energy to engage their babies and toddlers in conversation—and the lack of talk already shows in their language skills.
"It's a great tool that parents can use that helps them be able to have better conversations for a lack of better terms with their children," said Monica Mandujano, the Spanish coordinator for Lena Start in Delaware.
In this podcast episode, host Walter Isaacson and guests discuss parenting, how it's evolved from a group activity to something more singular, and how experts and technology are filling in the gaps for new parents.
While we're still learning about the pandemic's effects on children, it's clear that some learning setbacks have occurred. Overdeck Family Foundation writes about how parents and teachers, with help from organizations like LENA, have stepped up.