• Call for abstracts for Special Issue: Nordic perspectives on linguistic diversity and multilingualism in early childhood education


    Call for abstracts  

    Special issue: Nordic perspectives on linguistic diversity and multilingualism in early childhood education

    Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Education Research (JECER),

    Issue: 2024 – Volume 13, Issue 1, will be published online in February 2024. 

    Guest Editors: Gunhild Tomter Alstad, Inland University of Applied Sciences, Norway, Mari Bergroth, University of Helsinki, Finland and Katri Hansell, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, serve as the Guest Editors of this issue.

    JECER announces a Special Issue focusing on Nordic perspectives on linguistic diversity and multilingualism in early childhood education. Who would you be today if you had access to one language only? How would your social life and working life be affected by monolingualism? We argue that supporting multilingualism as a resource and as a norm is a question of linguistic identities and rights. However, it is also a question of handling linguistic diversity for harnessing multilingual skills for the good of society and fighting for inclusion and social justice. 

    The aim of this special issue is to generate theoretical and empirical knowledge on linguistic diversity and multilingualism in a Nordic ECEC contexts, including a multiplicity of contexts prior transitioning to formal primary education. The special issue places the (potentially) multilingual child in the center of action, either as an active agent in multilingual micro level realities or as a target of macro/meso level educational policies and practices. The articles proposed to this special issue explore approaches within Nordic early childhood education and care (ECEC) aimed to encourage and sustain the multilingual potential of each child. These multilingual approaches are treated as a part of a competent system in which individuals, teams and institutions collaborate and have competent governance at the policy level. 

    The potential topics include but are not limited to multilingual approaches in Nordic ECEC settings: 

    • early language learning 
    • language choices, including family language policies
    • national language reserves
    • multiliteracy and learning of core subjects
    • language aware and language responsive didactics  
    • ECEC teacher education and in-service training
    • leadership for multilingual practices
    • educational policies and the societal task of preparing all for multilingual society

    The significance of Nordic ECEC, the ‘Nordic model’, is due to its socio-educational character which is deeply rooted in an educational philosophy with an informal, play-based and child-centered approach to teaching and learning. Further, the Nordic model is characterized by highly trained staff and provision of ECEC as universal service. By combining education and care for all children aged 0-5, the Nordic model has a different character than elsewhere in Europe, where the main model is that 0-2-year-olds are enrolled in childcare institutions, and older children (3-5-year-olds) usually are based in institutions associated with more formal teaching.  

    The framework plans and curriculum guidelines for ECEC in the Nordic countries share the common European policy vision of language aware education systems emphasizing multilingualism and linguistic diversity as a resource in day-to-day practices at ECEC, including second language learning and teaching for language minority children, or local languages and varieties (Saami languages, Swedish in Finland, Kven in Norway, Danish in Greenland), small languages or endangered languages vs. English. Despite the many similarities across the Nordic countries and educational systems, the conditions for linguistic diversity are not identical: Norway and Sweden have a longer history of migration in comparison to Finland and Iceland and dialects have a higher prestige in Norway than in the other Scandinavian countries. Whereas Denmark, Iceland and Norway have traditions as monolingual countries emphasizing linguistic purism and a national language hegemony, Finland is per definition a bilingual country (Finnish and Swedish). Still, the language of instruction in the ECEC is either Finnish or Swedish. Bilingual education (immersion, CLIL and tandem language learning) is well established in Finland, while it barely exists in Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The special issue aims to address – or challenge – the ‘Nordic model’ by a spectrum of perspectives on linguistic diversity on ECEC contexts.   

    The articles can be theoretical in nature, reviews or meta-analyses, or may be based on qualitative or quantitative empirical research. The articles may also introduce rigorous scientific research on pedagogical development work or improving practical processes. They may involve studies from of the Nordic context, i.e. one Nordic country, a more comparative approach involving two or more countries, or an overall Nordic perspective. Articles in this special issue are to be written in English.

    Authors are invited to submit a one page summary of their proposed article. The one-page abstract includes the name(s), affiliation(s), and position(s) of each author. It also briefly introduces the aims, methodology, preliminary findings, and theoretical and/or educational significance of the research. The selected full-length article manuscripts will be refereed through a double-blind peer review process. The length of the article manuscripts written in English should be max. 8000 words, excluding references. More detailed instructions for authors can be found on the journal’s website:

    Abstract proposal due: Submission of the abstracts will be considered till 15th December 2022.

    Acceptance/rejection of article proposals: 9th January 2023.

    Manuscript due: 30th April 2023.

    The accepted articles will be published online by January-February 2024.

    Please send your abstract via e-mail to: and, with subject identifier ‘Submission Special Issue 2024’  

    If you have any questions before sending the abstract, please send an email to and

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