Skip to main content
Erin Okuno's picture

*** Want more information on raising multilingual children? Visit MomsRising's bilingual parenting resource site:

As a mom, I’ve seen first-hand the advantages of dual language programs to the academic and social-emotional development of my son. My kid is a second grader in a dual language Mandarin-Chinese program in Seattle and here is what he has to say about it:  

Having a quality dual language program is giving my child a way to connect to his racial and ethnic background. While he’s part Chinese American, the Chinese language is lost in our family, which means we are a monolingual English family at home. Learning Chinese at school gives him the ability to connect with his cultural background and support his positive self-identity. 

The dual language program has also helped to ensure my kid is seeing teachers of color in his classrooms. In a traditional school this would have been unlikely since the current teaching workforce in Washington State is 92% white?! This is critical to ensuring he and other students of color are seen and understood in their schools. A dual language education is also teaching him empathy and connections vital for an increasingly global world. So this is a win-win on all fronts! 

I still remember the moment when I realized my kid’s dual language education was sticking. We were watching the movie The Martian, there is a brief scene where the actors are speaking in Chinese, he said “I know what they are saying,” and explained the scene. It wasn’t a word-for-word translation, but it was still an accurate interpretation. In that moment, his dual language education created a new dynamic that connected him to the world and our family in a new way.  

I look forward to having more moments like this one, because connecting and understanding are at the core of building equity for our communities. It’s time that we shift away from pervasive “English only” views and create a new norm where multilingualism is valued.

Read more from Erin on this topic at

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!