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Knowledge From the Field

Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success

Published: April 2011

Publisher(s): Urban Institute

Author(s): Golden, Olivia; Karina Fortuny

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation, Foundation for Child Development

View Report (17 pages; 184KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Early Learning


The report summarizes discussions from the Urban Institute’s June 2010 roundtable, which focused attention on the educational needs of children of immigrants during the crucial years of language development (roughly age three to eight). The report highlights immigration trends, access to high-quality early care and education, school reform, parent-focused strategies, and policy opportunities.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Young children of immigrants accounted for the entire growth in the population of children age zero to eight in the U.S. between 1990 and 2008; more than a quarter of children of immigrants age five to eight are English language learners.

=Early childhood education can help children of immigrants and English language learners close the achievement gap, but this population is less likely than children of U.S.-born parents to participate in preschool or early childhood programs.

=Access to early childhood education is more complex than merely cost or availability; it is also about communication, partnerships, and acceptance by the immigrant community.

=A clear theme that emerged from the roundtable was the need for further research, particularly in the areas of language development of young children, implementation approaches, and local demographic data.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Early Education; Elementary Education; English Language Learner; Immigrant; Language Development; No Child Left Behind; School Reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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