Almost 20 years ago, Teri Suzanne stood in front of a packed audience in Tokyo at the Association of English Teachers of Children, and unveiled her "English in Action" method with what was then a radical declaration: "I know that young children have the capacity to learn multiple languages by connecting words to actions."

This might be accepted wisdom now, but in 1983, teaching English through action and words was not a common practice for preschool or elementary teachers. Not that Teri Suzanne (her professional name) let this hinder her -- she was a pioneer in a field that had high ideals but little in the way of a curriculum.

Her journey from lone voice to recognized authority on early childhood bilingual education was a long one. It began in the United States, where she used English to teach children of Japanese descent for seven years, under the fledgling Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program of the San Francisco Unified School District.