Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 47–54 | Cite as

An English-Speaking Prekindergarten Teacher for Young Latino Children: Implications of the Teacher–Child Relationship on Second Language Learning



This case study was designed to describe how an effective English-speaking prekindergarten teacher develops strategies for communicating with and teaching young English language learners. The teacher’s classroom practices to enhance her own relationship with the children promoted opportunities for the Latino children to become full participants in the classroom community. At the end of the year, the Latino children showed progress in formal and informal measures of receptive vocabulary in both English and Spanish. Findings from the study suggest the importance of the affective and social nature of second language learning in young children. Implications for practice and research are discussed.


English language learners teacher–child relationship Latino children second language learning second language acquisition prekindergarten bilingualism language learning case study Spanish receptive vocabulary English as a second language classroom community peer support language of instruction second language learners bilingual children social interactions peer relations 



The author would like to thank the Foundation for Child Development for supporting the work described in this paper. Also she would like to thank Kelly Maxwell, Debra Skinner, and Virginia Buysse for their thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, and Dina Castro, Giselle Crawford, Cathie Feild, and Jill Fitzgerald for insightful comments on this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FPG Child Development InstituteUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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