Staff self-assessment of ECEC practices in meeting language diversity in Finland




language diversity, early childhood education and care, teacher competence, teaching practice


The study examines language aware practices in early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Finland. In Finland, the number of citizens with languages other than the national languages is estimated to increase, and population growth is dependent on migration. Children enrolled in ECEC have increasingly diverse language backgrounds. This calls for adjusting pedagogical practices to the needs of multilingual children only starting to familiarise themselves with the language of instruction. The data analysed were part of a national survey. A total of 882 respondents working in ECEC answered the survey. For this study, we concentrated on two open questions: “What kinds of practices do you have to support the language learning of children with an immigration background?” (N = 538) and “What kinds of needs to develop practices have you identified regarding language learning of children with an immigrant background or organising linguistic support?” (N = 509). Qualitative content analysis was used as an analytical approach. Our findings were condensed to a model consisting of six steps of language aware ECEC. The first three steps were well implemented according to the data. However, more attention is still needed to fully support language aware teachers, teams and systems.


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