Making Sense of Writing: Infants’ Experiences in a Multilingual Day Care Centers in Luxembourg


Claudine Kirsch, PhD  and Valérie Kemp, MA
Department of Humanities, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Part of the Book: Multilingual Early Childhood Education: Modern Approaches and Research
Chapter DOI: 10.52305/XYLP7011


Literacy holds a privileged place in early childhood education (ECE) as preliteracy skills are strong predictors of literacy skills which, in turn, influence academic achievement. To develop literacy, children need rich, meaningful, and varied print experiences at home and in ECE institutions. To this effect, ECE professionals have been shown to offer children opportunities to work on their oral skills, alphabet knowledge, print awareness, and phonological awareness. While some studies have investigated early reading experiences, fewer studies have reported on young children’s writing experiences and literacy experiences in multiple languages. The present chapter from the project Collaboration with parents and multiliteracies in ECE presents the print experiences of emergent multilingual three-year-olds in three day care centers in Luxembourg. Our observations over the academic year 2020/21 showed that the educators provided children with literacy experiences in multiple languages, but that the space given to writing as well as the types of activities differed significantly across the settings. This was largely due to the differing approaches to literacy (social practice and autonomous model) and different underlying learning theories (social constructivist, behaviorist, maturationist). As a result, some children learned to make meaning of signs and express themselves in new ways in naturally occurring situations with the support of adults, while others learned about letter-sound correspondences in more technical ways which seemed removed from their experiences. The chapter concludes with a call for a social practice view of literacy in ECE settings.

Keywords: literacy, multilingualism, non-formal education


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