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  • Michel&Kuiken 2014 eujal-2014

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Language at preschool in Europe: early years professionals in the spotlight

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)1-26
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/12/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Over the past decades early years education throughout Europe has experienced large changes due to higher numbers of children attending centres for early childhood education and care (ECEC), a growing linguistic and cultural diversity in society and a shift from care to education, that is, preparing children for entry to primary school. These changes have created expectations from policy makers, researchers and parents for qualitatively high levels of ECEC. Language support for children at risk is often named as one of the key aspects of high-quality childcare because of its importance for a successful entry to and progression within the future educational career of a child. However, rather little is known about how early years professionals meet the linguistic expectations of twenty-first century Europe. The present special issue tries to fill this gap by giving a platform to five European investigations into language at preschool in Europe with a focus on early years educators’ competences, knowledge, skills, beliefs and needs. This introductory article aims at preparing the reader for the contributions that follow in this special issue. We first describe current policy and practice of language support in European ECEC with regard to children’s and educators’ needs. Afterwards we review all the contributions and provide a summary focusing on the diversity as well as the commonalities of the five investigations, before formulating an outlook for future work.

Bibliographic note

Introduction to the special issue on Language at Preschool in Europe