31 SES 17 A, Language Policies and Practices in Early Childhood Education: Expectations, Prescriptions and Negotiations in the Context of Migration and Multilingualism
While the European Commission (2011) has called for multilingual approaches in preschools and primary schools, their implementation is difficult and has rarely been studied (Kirsch et al. 2020). Multilingual language policies are likely to challenge traditional monolingual language ideologies and language hierarchies (Bergroth & Palviainen 2016). The present paper looks at the non-formal early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) in multilingual Luxembourg, where a new plurilingual education programme has been implemented in 2017 (MENJE & SNJ 2018). It aims to develop skills in Luxembourgish (or French), familiarize children with French (or Luxembourgish) and value home languages. Furthermore, it encourages collaboration with parents and networking with social institutions (Kirsch & Seele 2020). The project COMPARE examines collaborative language and literacy practices with three-to-four-year-olds in crèches (day care centres in Luxembourg). This paper investigates the ways in which the educators in one crèche, helped by children’s parents, and the children themselves developed literacy activities in multiple languages and began to overcome monolingual ideologies. The data stem from seven video recordings totalling 29 minutes and fieldnotes written on four days over a period of three months. The data have been analysed with thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006). Our preliminary results show that the educators included six of the children’s home languages by engaging the children and their parents in a range of activities. They developed an inclusive stance to language diversity and, like the children, learned words in different languages. Thanks to the good collaboration with parents, they received home-recorded videos which they integrated into their daily practices. Finally, they considered children’s, at times, reluctant attitudes towards languages other than the majority languages and found ways of opening up their minds to language diversity. Children became the driving motor for the new multilingual practices (Boyd & Huss 2017). The findings are relevant for policy-makers, researchers and professionals because they show means to develop collaborative and inclusive multilingual practices and overcome possible challenges.
Bergroth, M., & Palviainen, Å. (2016). The early childhood education and care partnership for bilingualism in minority language schooling: Collaboration between bilingual families and pedagogical practitioners. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19(6), 649–667. Braun, V., and Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101. Boyd, S. & L. Huss. 2017. Young children as language policy-makers: studies of interaction in preschools in Finland and Sweden. Multilingua 36. 359-373 European Commission (2011), Language learning at pre-primary school level: Making it efficient and sustainable: A policy handbook. Commission Staff Working Paper, 928 final, European Strategic Framework for Education and Training. Kirsch, C., Aleksić, G., Mortini, S., & Andersen, K. N. (2020). Developing multilingual practices in early childhood education through a professional development in Luxembourg. International Multilingual Research Journal.http.://doi:10.1080/19313152.2020.1730023 Kirsch, C., & Seele, C. (2020). Early language education in Luxembourg. In: M. Schwartz (Ed.), International Handbook of Early Language Education. Springer. MENJE & SNJ (Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’Enfance et de la Jeunesse & Service National de la Jeunesse, Luxembourg). (2018). Cadre de référence national sur l’éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes. MENJE & SNJ.
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