Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 2: Program Activities for Healthy Development

2.1 Program of Developmental Activities

2.1.1 General Program Activities Communication in Native Language Other Than English

At least one member of the staff should be able to communicate with the parents/guardians and children in the family’s native language (sign or spoken), or the facility should work with parents/guardians to arrange for a translator to communicate with parents/guardians and children. Efforts should be made to support a child’s and family’s native language while providing resources and opportunities for learning English (2). Children should not be used as translators. They are not developmentally able to understand the meaning of all words as used by adults, nor should they participate in all conversations that may be regarding the child.
The future development of the child depends on his/her command of language (1). Richness of language increases as a result of experiences as well as through the child’s verbal interaction with adults and peers. Basic communication with parents/guardians and children requires an ability to speak their language. Learning English while maintaining a family’s native language enriches child development and strengthens family cultural traditions.
For resources on bilingual and dual language learning, see the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SODBP) at
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Moerk, E. L. 2000. The guided acquisition of first language skills. Advances Applied Dev Psychol 20:248.
  2. Olsen, L. 2006. Ensuring academic success of English learners. 2006. U.C. Linguistic Minority Research Institute 15:1-7.