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All infants and toddlers need experiences that nurture, support, and teach their home language and culture. Language is a vital component of early experiences well before the child can say his first word. Infants and toddlers whose families come from diverse backgrounds and speak different languages are appearing in all kinds of early care and learning settings in growing numbers. Even the most experienced caregiver can feel a bit unsure about meeting the unique needs of infants and toddlers from different language backgrounds. Many Languages, Building Connections outlines adaptable strategies that caregivers of children younger than the age of three need to feel confident that they know how language develops, how cultural differences can come into play, and how to assess an individual childs situation to provide appropriate support. From welcoming diverse families and engaging them to participate in a child care program to creating nurturing communities that value and support each childs home language while also fostering English acquisition, the helpful strategies included in Many Languages, Building Connections will prepare caregivers for the diverse reality they encounter in their work.
Karen Nemeth earned her BA in Psychology from William Paterson University and her M.Ed. in Learning, Cognition and Development from Rutgers University. She has been a teacher and a teacher educator for more than 25 years, and has presented at national, state, and local conferences on topics related to first and second language development. She is on the executive board of NJ Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/NJ Bilingual Educators and is co-coordinator of the Early Childhood Special Interest Group. Currently, she teaches at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pennsylvania.