Present but silent? The use of languages other than Norwegian in mainstream ECEC.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In this paper we present a survey-based study on multilingual practices in 47 ECEC (early childhood education and care) centres, mainly in eastern Norway. Our main concern was to investigate the languages known by staff and children and to explore the extent to which these languages are in active use in day-to-day activities. Our data showed that both staff and children in the selected ECEC groups spoke several languages in addition to Norwegian. Even so, a considerable proportion of the languages known by staff and children were never or rarely in use, and in many ECECs the use of languages other than Norwegian mainly took place when parents were present or when children played without staff interference. We discuss our findings considering theories of multilingual education, asking how ECEC staff can work in order to allow for languages other than Norwegian to be more explicitly considered part of the ECEC language learning environment.