Supporting Multilingual Learners

Syllabus: Online Course

Instructor Contact Information



Visiting hours:

Equity Statement

(Note: Instructors will need to fill out this section with a statement that details their commitment to creating and maintaining an equitable, inclusive learning environment. Sample statements are provided in the EarlyEdU instructor support materials. Instructors may also already have a statement provided by their institution).

Access and Accommodations

(Note: Instructors will need to update this section as required by their institution. Initial text is provided).

We want you to have the best possible experience in this class. At the (your institution), we aim to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you experience barriers, please seek a meeting with (Insert the department or person at your institution responsible for special accommodations) to discuss and address them. If you have already established accommodations with that office, please inform your instructor about the approved accommodations as soon as possible so we can discuss your needs in this course.

Course Description

Throughout the United States 11.2 million children, or 33% of all U.S. children under the age of 9, are considered multilingual learners (Migration Policy Institute, 2019). Rapid growth of this segment of the population creates a need for educators to expand and enhance their knowledge of child development and teaching strategies to include an understanding of first and second language acquisition, cross-cultural awareness, and curricular supports that benefit children who are learning more than one language, and all children, in an early learning setting.

This course focuses on building the capacity of educators in the early childhood profession to be able to respond to the unique needs of children who are multilingual learners, birth to age 5. It makes connections between research-based effective practices, program policies, and broader societal systems with the goal of enabling educators to positively adapt their everyday classroom interactions and environments.

In this course you will be encouraged to actively engage in the content in ways that will serve you for the duration of your career. You will also have opportunities to apply the concepts you are learning by observing and working with children who are multilingual learners and their families in an early learning setting. During these times, you will have access to support from your instructor as well as fellow course participants.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

1.     Examine the connections between language acquisition theories and instructional approaches for language learning in early childhood education programs.

2.     Apply knowledge of first and second language development to identify and implement individualized, specific strategies that promote the growth and abilities of children who are multilingual learners, birth to age five.

3.     Examine the intersectionality between children who are multilingual learners and children with disabilities to identify and implement effective strategies you can use to support them in the learning setting.

4.     Identify considerations early learning professionals should take into account when administering screening and assessments to children who are multilingual learners and/or interpreting results.

5.     Describe the cultures and languages represented in your community, ways they are interconnected, and the importance of sustaining them.

6.     Identify strategies you can use to partner with families who speak more than one language.

7.     Explore ways you can advocate for children who are multilingual learners.

Course Organization

This course consists of 10 sessions separated into three themes of study with a summative assignment for each theme. The final session represents the culmination of your work in this course.

Multilingual Children and Families

Language, Literacy, and Learning

Supporting Multilingual Learners

Session 1: Frameworks & Foundations

Session 2: Culture and Bias

Session 3: Partnering with Families 

Session 4: First and Second Language Development

Session 5: Program Models

Session 6: Learning Environments

Session 7: The Big 5

Session 8: Screening and Assessment

Session 9: Interactions Promoting Language Development

Session 10: Bringing it All Together with Advocacy

Achievement1: Family Welcome

Achievement 2: High Quality Learning Environments

Achievement 3: Advocacy Proposal


Category Percentage
Quizzes 22%
Discussions 28%
Reflection Assignments 5%
Video Activities 5%
Weekly Applied Assignments 14%
Summative Assignment(s) 26%


Quizzes (__%: Grading per Instructor)

Most sessions have an opportunity to quickly review the material being covered for understanding and knowledge gained. These reviews provide an opportunity to reinforce the content and keep it fresh in mind.

Discussions (__%: Grading per Instructor)

Discussions will focus on the theme of each session and are sometimes presented as case studies. These class activities require you to work in small groups called CORP (Communities of Reflection and Practice), respond to the prompts, and reply to other students in your group. You are expected to participate in all discussion activities.

Other Assignments (__%: Grading per Instructor)

Weekly assignments provide practitioner-focused time to make meaning from course readings, videos, and lectures. Assignments vary and may include lesson plan development, video recording yourself delivering classroom activities with children, reflection, and practice using skills in your daily life. You are expected to complete all assignments in a timely manner and contact the instructor as soon as possible if you are unable to do so.

Reading Reflections (__%: Grading per Instructor)

In this course, you will complete required readings. At times, you will synthesize your thoughts from the readings in reflection assignments. Guiding questions will be offered for each reading reflection.

Summative assignment (Achievements 1, 2, 3) (__%: Grading per Instructor)

This course has a 3-part capstone assignment. Each part of the capstone is called an “Achievement.” You will be scheduled to complete each Achievement as part of your assignments throughout the course in Sessions 3, 6, and 10. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate competencies from sessions of this course. These assignments take the place of any mid-term or final exams.

Note on Video Recording

As noted above, in some assignments you may be asked to video record classroom interactions, review video footage, and edit several small clips for your instructor and peers to view. Instructors will include guidance for this process by providing training and detailed guides for video recording and editing for use with the EarlyEdU Coaching Companion.

Community Resources and Supports

Your academic success and wellbeing are important. Below is a list of services available to support your learning experience in this course. Please contact your instructor if you cannot fully participate in class because you have needs that are not being met.

(Note: Instructors will need to customize this section with a hyperlinked list of relevant services in their community).

Time Estimations

(Note: Instructors will need to update this section as required. Initial text is provided; instructors will need to provide all their own details here).

The estimated time commitment for each session is 5-8 hours. Some sessions may include assignments that require more than 5 hours out of class (e.g., completing the planning, video, reflecting, and feedback cycles) while others may take less. Additionally, some participants may complete assignments more quickly than others. Some participants may review readings and videos multiple times and spend more time on their assignments. There is no exact time designation; you are encouraged to communicate with your instructor for any questions on due dates, extensions, and workload.