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Sowing the SEEDS of Bilingual Instruction

May 18, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A unique group of Minnesota students will graduate today from a program that helps Spanish-speaking child-care providers better prepare Latino children for school.

Cory Woosley, Eager to Learn program manager for the Minnesota Child Care Resource & Referral Network, says the "SEEDS of Early Literacy" training fills a critical need with the growing diversity of Minnesota's schoolchildren, particularly those who come from Spanish-speaking homes.

"They will be going to the public schools, and the public schools are using English as a first language. So not only are we helping the children and their families, we're helping public schools to be ready for the children, too."

With 76 percent of Minnesota's children spending time regularly in child care, Woosley says, well-trained teachers and quality care are critical components of Minnesota's economic, social and educational picture. While today's round of graduates come from Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota counties, she says the program is open to child-care providers across Minnesota.

The training is offered online, which provides the added benefit of improving computer skills, but Woosley says students also meet with a local coach monthly.

"The coaching is very critical, because it really helps people take what they're learning, meet with other people and put theory into practice."

Ariadna Diaz, a Burnsville High School student and one of the graduates celebrating today, says the class really opened her eyes to the different ways children learn.

"What I liked the most is learning about how the kids' imagination and creativity works. Some learn with hands-on, some learn reading, others writing. So what really caught me is all those different ways I can teach different kids so they can each get to the same place, but a different way."

Diaz, who works in child care part-time, says she's hoping to become a teacher or a lawyer one day. She says the communications techniques she's learned would be useful in either setting.

Information on the SEEDS of Early Literacy program is online at

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN