Early Education, children reading together Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux Photography

The Importance of Early Education for English Language Learners

A case study from Illinois

This report shares lessons learned from a new approach to creating more continuity between Pre-K and the early grades of school.

Immigrant youth make up an estimated 25 percent of the population under 18. This demographic change presents a challenge to the public school system, where English proficiency is central to a child’s success. This report shares lessons learned from a new model in Illinois that addresses the needs of English Language Learners (ELL) beginning in pre-kindergarten.

While most state ELL programs begin when a child is enrolled in kindergarten or first grade, Illinois has extended its programs into state-funded pre-K programs. This paper takes a deep look at how the state came to see a need for these policies and how it is implementing them on a large scale.