We have integrated cutting-edge research in bilingual education and educational standards set by the China Education Ministry and developed the Cross-discipline/Cross-language (CDCL) instructional framework to deliver effective, engaging, and story-based early childhood Chinese–English bilingual educational programs.
The CDCL framework is a conceptual model supplemented by a set of instructional strategies and curriculum activities that address the six “content and skill” domains of early childhood development specified by the Chinese Ministry of Education (i.e., health, social skills, math, language, arts, science). In a Chinese–English bilingual classroom, the CDCL framework specifies how each of the six domains can be addressed to ensure skills in both languages—with social skills (and social awareness) prioritized because of their central position in very young children’s lives. The framework uses stories and storytelling, both to ground the curriculum and to provide reference points for the children to be able to talk about their understandings of shared experiences with each other and to make sense of them on their own. The stories provide the children (and their teachers or parents) with descriptions of social relationships to which they must pay very close attention. With this basis of shared understanding, the children can learn about the content and practice the skills in each of the other five areas.