Breaking Down Language Barriers To Promote Quality Early Childhood Care and Education

Worksite Location
CCE Oneida County
Project Dates
June 1-August 1, 2019 (tentative)
Faculty Sponsor
Abigail Cohn, Department of Linguistics, The College of Arts & Sciences
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Richelle Singer, Early Care & Learning Issue Leader, CCE Oneida County
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The Child Care Council of Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County works with constituents providing
educational opportunities to empower, encourage and equip them to cultivate a future of wellness, innovation and 
growth. Our educators work within very culturally diverse communities, providing research based information on
quality child care. Since there are over 48 different languages spoken in Oneida County, our educators are often 
plagued with language barriers making it difficult to disseminate information to our clientele. Currently, we use 
various interpreters and translation services, but their availability can be sporadic and their services can be costly.
One component of this project will be modifying existing teaching materials and developing new materials that will 
be readily available to our educators to help break down communication barriers. That may consist of translating
brochures and information into different languages or developing “universal language” materials. Additionally,
we would like to help our educators to understand how language works naturally and socially so that they can use
that understanding to teach more effectively and increase our impact in the community.

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern will review and evaluate all current educational materials, assist in the creation of translated materials and with the development of “universal language” materials. Evaluation will include printed materials, digital files and assessment of oral communication. They will develop ways to improve and advance communication so all clients have the best opportunity of understanding regardless of education, cultural or language barriers. The intern will work with staff to implement changes to ensure conformity with regulations and required wording.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The student should have a background in linguistics, including having taken one or more linguistics classes.

Benefits and Skills

- Insight into the linguistic barriers between agencies and clients.
- The student will learn and understand the language and cultural barriers in early childhood education.
- The intern will learn to develop proactive and forward thinking solutions to linguistic barriers.
- Planning and effectively carrying out activities to improve educator performance and community impact.