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Center for Teaching and Learning

Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) - Title III

ECD Monolingual/Bilingual Program

Area of Inquiry

Expand and strengthen supplemental academic support in basic skill by establishing a support system and English basic skills for Spanish speaking population.

Chabot College has been offering ECD monolingual/bilingual classes to Spanish speaking students since 2001. These courses were a result of a request from Spanish speaking Early Childhood Family Child Care providers who wanted to take ECD courses in order to improve the quality of their programs. At that time there were no monolingual Spanish ECD courses being offered. It was determined that there were many Spanish speaking Early Childhood providers that would benefit from a program where they would be able to get the foundation and theory of Early Childhood principles and practices in their native language first. The ECD department responded to this request by developing a cohort of Spanish speaking providers (45) who would have the first two ECD classes delivered in Spanish with a Spanish textbook. The next two classes in the sequence would be delivered bilingually with an English ECD textbook. After completing the four classes, the students would obtain Associate Teacher Certificates from Chabot College and complete the minimum California Child Care Licensing requirements to work with young children. They would also be able to apply and meet the requirements for the Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (state certification).

The goal of the program is to prepare bilingual teachers for the Early Childhood profession and to increase the quality of care that children receive in ECE programs. This occurs because the early childhood workforce is better prepared and educated. Children benefit greatly from teachers who share their same culture, understand and speak their language. The attachment formed between children and their teachers is crucial in their development and is one of the primary foundations for learning. This program is extremely successful and as of this time we have had 342 students complete the program and receive their Associate Teacher Certificate from Chabot College. We also have a waiting list of over 75 students for this program.

According to Census Bureau (2007) figures, in Alameda County 21.1% of the adult population are Hispanic and 16.4% speak Spanish at home. In addition 61.7% of children speak a language other than English, being Spanish the most prevalent.

Last year there was a new ruling from the California Community College Chancellor’s office which changed the interpretation of the Education Code around the offering of monolingual classes in a language other than English. Steven Bruckman, Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel at the Chancellor’s Office states (Provision of Instruction in Languages Other Than English Legal Opinion O 06-10):

A community college may offer certain sections of a course in English and other sections of the course in Spanish, or another language other than English, to students with limited proficiency in English if:(1) students in all sections of the course are required to enroll in a basic skills English co requisite course.

This ruling from the Chancellor’s office changed how we will need to offer the ECD courses for the Spanish Cohort. As a result of this ruling participants in the Spanish Cohort need to be enrolled in ESL classes concurrently with their ECD classes. At this time, before students enter the program they take an ESL Assessment. The Spanish Cohort which will started in Summer 2009 ESL assessment results show that 65% Need more preparation for ESL 110A, 32% qualify for ESL 110A and 3% ESL 110B.

The ECD department strongly recommends the offering of ESL courses for Spanish speaking students on Saturdays since they are working adults and their ECD classes are also on Saturdays. In addition, many of those who completed the four core ECD classes commented that they feel they miss many opportunities for advancement in their job because their English skills are low or non-existent. The ECD department also believes that a foundation in English skills is necessary in order to provide opportunities for these students to continue their educational goals and take on leadership roles in their work places.

Discoveries to Date

Collected Data
A study done by the Study of Child Care Employment University of California at Berkeley (2008) shows that students who are given the extra support and are in cohorts or learning communities have a higher rate of success in college especially working adults. One of the students interviewed said, “It would be good to help people find a tutor who speaks Spanish, because sometimes what has made me uncomfortable is that they only speak English. I understand that I have to learn English, but for grammatical issues, it’s easy for me to understand if it’s explained in Spanish, even though I know I will eventually have to do the work in English”

At Chabot College, we have seen the success of the Spanish cohort, but what has been missing is that they also need support in achieving English skills in order for them to advance in their career working with young children. Now we would be out of compliance if the students do not concurrently take ESL courses. As students see their classmates succeed then it gives incentives to see that they can do it too.

Future Program Plan

The parties that will be involved are a faculty person from the ESL Department to revise and write course outlines and the English Language Learner Professional Development Coordinator, Ana DelAguila (position funded by Alameda County First 5 grant) whose sole responsibility will be to coordinate the Spanish cohort with the ESL component and the Spanish student Learning community.

We are planning to evaluate the effectiveness of this program by having the students take the ESL assessment after they have completed the 4 semesters of ESL courses along with their ECD courses. We will then compare those ESL scores with their entry ESL scores. We will also want to look at the completion rate of the cohort and to survey those that leave the program to determine how we can better support them.


  • Ana Del Aguila
    Edna Rodriggs

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