Dual Language Learners and Social-Emotional Development: Understanding the Benefits for Young Children

Tamara Halle, Marlene Zepeda, Jessica Vick Whittaker

Children who are dual language learners are those who are exposed to more than one language, either simultaneously or sequentially, during the early years of life when language acquisition is taking place. While we often hear about the English proficiency of these children, what do we know about their social-emotional development?

Recent scholarship has emphasized that young bilingual children typically demonstrate advantages in executive function skills (such as attention and inhibitory control) compared to their monolingual peers, and have different developmental trajectories than monolingual children in language and literacy development…