Division of ESOL/Bilingual ProgramsCurriculum and Instruction → ESOL in Prekindergarten, Kindergarten and Elementary School

ESOL in Prekindergarten, Kindergarten and Elementary School


Elementary ESOL students in Prekindergarten receive regularly scheduled English language development instruction from an ESOL teacher. Currently, the ESOL teacher uses ESOL resources in the Big Day PreK curriculum to help students develop language skills in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The teacher monitors the progress of these ESOL students to guide the development of basic interpersonal and academic language, supporting active participation in the school setting.

Kindergarten through 5

The ESOL connections in Curriculum 2.0 provide essential guidance for ESOL teachers to ensure that English language development instruction is rigorous and aligned to the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) English language development standards and the Common Core State Standards. The ESOL connections frame academic language by focusing on the language functions, language structures, and vocabulary that ESOL students need to master the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing academic English.

How ESOL Is Taught in Elementary School

There are various instructional models that can be effectively implemented in an elementary school ESOL program.

In a pull-out model, the ESOL teacher instructs students outside of the general education classroom in an ESOL classroom, enabling the teacher to provide intensive language instruction that builds the communication skills and confidence of these students as they develop their oral language and receive instruction that specifically addresses their linguistic needs. The pull out instructional model provides opportunities for beginning level ESOL students to learn and practice general academic language aligned to the content curriculum.

In a plug-in model, the ESOL teacher instructs students in the general education classroom. This may include co-teaching the whole class with the certified classroom teacher or instructing small groups of ESOL students during independent work/center time. The plug-in instructional model provides opportunities for intermediate or advanced level ESOL students who have mastered basic communication skills, to participate in complex academic tasks through support provided by the ESOL teacher to make the language of instruction more accessible.

In the self-contained model, or sheltered instructional model, students remain with the ESOL teacher in the ESOL classroom for an entire instructional block. In some cases, the ESOL students are instructed by the ESOL teacher for the entire literacy block, when ESOL is combined with balanced literacy instruction. The ESOL teacher must be dually certified in ESOL and elementary education. This instructional model is most often used to meet the language and literacy needs of ESOL students with interrupted education in the Multidisciplinary Education, Training, and Support (METS) Program.

At any level of English language proficiency, a combination of instructional models may be implemented to take advantage of the benefits of the various models.