About us.

The mission of NNELL is to foster a network that empower educators to advocate for and support early language teaching and learning. Our vision is for every child to have the opportunity to learn another language at the earliest age possible. Since its founding in 1987, NNELL continues to be an invaluable resource for educators, parents and policymakers advocating for K-8 programs of excellence in second language education.

NNELL’s Core Beliefs

NNELL believes that all elementary school students should have access to high quality, ongoing and systematic world language instruction. This belief is based on research that indicates:

  • The period of early childhood is considered an optimal time to begin learning a second language, as the methods and materials used in early childhood classes are multi-modal and may facilitate second language acquisition and learning.
  • Children in effective early second language programs show overall gains on standardized tests of basic skills, and derive additional cognitive, social, and affective benefits.
  • The integration of content and language learning and the development of positive attitudes towards people who speak other languages occur more easily when long, articulated sequences of second language instruction begin in early childhood and become an integral part of school learning.
  • Early second language learning may result in improved phonological and phonemic awareness, two building blocks of literacy in one’s native language.

NNELL holds an annual meeting at the fall conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Founding Members of NNELL…

We would like to recognize the following 26 people who were the founding members of NNELL. They were part of a group who attended a historic FLES networking session, at founding_wreaththe 1986 ACTFL Conference in Dallas, when it was decided that it was time to form an official network for early language learning. Of the group at that session, those listed below attended a “FLES Network Planning Meeting” at the Center for Applied Linguistics from January 31 to February 1, 1987 when NNELL was founded. Thank you all for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Carolyn Andrade Rosemarie Benya Christine Brown Helena Curtain
Jack Darcy Diane Ging Betsy Grob Donna Grundstadt
Mari Haas Nancy Hess Sheri Houpt Laureen Hurt
Melanie Klutts Sara Lindsley Gladys Lipton Myriam Met
Kurt Muller Bettye Myer Carol Ann Pesola Joy Rehjilian-Burgy
Nancy Rhodes Kathleen Riordan Marcia Rosenbusch Elsa Statzner
G. Richard Tucker Susan Walker

In the Spring 1991 issue of NNELL’s publication FLES News, we announced the decision that NNELL was changing from an informal network to a formal organization. On the membership form, we said, “In honor of NNELL becoming an official organization, anyone who renews their subscription or becomes a member for the first time by Fall 1991 will be listed as a Founding Member of NNELL.

NNELL invites you to view this special article dedicated to the Founding Members of NNELL!