In 2007 and 2008, CHCF convened a workgroup of early care and education advocates, leaders, and other professionals, in a series of planning meetings to elaborate an advocacy strategy around the education needs of New York’s 0-5 year old Latino and English language learner children. As a result, CHCF created the Latino Coalition for Early Care and Education (LCECE), focused on six key issue areas: language access, professional development opportunities, school readiness, family engagement, quality rating and improvement system and community involvement and outreach. Founding LCECE members still with the group are Elba Montalvo, M.A., Vanessa Ramos, Esq., Krystal Reyes, M.P.A., Luis O. Reyes, Ph.D., Jorge Saenz de Viteri, M.S. Ed., and Pedro Cordero, M.S. Ed.
LCECE’s mission is to increase the availability and quality of culturally and linguistically appropriate child care and early education for Latino children and all ELL children at both the city and state levels. In the years since its inception, CHCF and LCECE have published several briefs and papers advocating for meaningful policies in New York City and New York State to better serve our children and recognize that children’s home languages are assets, not barriers, and fundamental for the development of both the home language and English language acquisition.
After LCECE convened a public forum at Baruch College in 2008, it elaborated with the report Building on Latino Children’s Language and Culture, to solidify and make public its agenda in support of ELL children.
LCECE organizes community education events, such as our 2013 legislative briefing at the New York State Assembly Hearing Room and a 2011 panel discussion about early education and the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. We meet with City and State education officials, department chiefs, lawmakers and community members to provide guidance and insight on improvements that we can make in our education and social service agencies.
Our latest report, Ensuring High Quality Early Care & Education to Support NY’s Dual Language Learners and their Families makes the research-based proposal that the best way to ensure high educational outcomes for children from non-English speaking backgrounds is to use their home language as a foundation for learning. Development of a child’s home language is critical to his or her cognitive, social and intellectual development. A child’s linguistic assets—whether in Spanish, Mandarin, Haitian-Creole, Bengali, Russian or any other language—form a critical foundation for all learning. (Other LCECE reports include: Addressing The Needs of Young Latino English Language Learners in NYS under Common Core State Standards and Early Education and the Common Core Standards.)