A1 Journal article (refereed)
Multilingual learning environments in early childhood education in Finland (2024)

Repo, E., Aerila, J.-A., Tyrer, M., & Harju-Luukkainen, H. (2024). Multilingual learning environments in early childhood education in Finland. Journal of Early Childhood Education Research, 13(1), 221-248. https://doi.org/10.58955/jecer.129339

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRepo, Elisa; Aerila, Juli-Anna; Tyrer, Maria; Harju-Luukkainen, Heidi

Journal or seriesJournal of Early Childhood Education Research


Publication year2024

Publication date08/02/2024


Issue number1

Pages range221-248

PublisherSuomen varhaiskasvatus

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/93439

Additional informationPeer-reviewed articles


Increasing linguistic diversity creates a need to construct early learning environments as spaces where children’s whole multilingual repertoires are represented. The purpose of these spaces is to support the crossing of linguistic boundaries during collaborative, play-based activities. In Finland, the language policies of the National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care have been changed to promote multilingualism. This study focuses on data provided by early childhood education and care (ECEC) staff, documenting changing language policies in learning environments through the management of space and practice. The study analyzes what ECEC staff (N = 81 participant groups) report on constructing multilingual learning environments and what type of barriers and enablers are described as present in such environments. Theoretically, the analysis draws on pedagogical translanguaging. The data were collected using the LangPeda tool, and the participant groups’ textual documents were scrutinized via qualitative content analysis. The findings suggested that although most of the groups’ textual documents reflected either pre-planned or spontaneous pedagogical translanguaging, not all the groups were eager to change their monolingual practices. Linguistic hierarchies were found, and the development of children’s linguistic repertoires appeared to be hindered by misconceived understanding of language learning. Enabling pedagogical translanguaging to become part of ECEC institutions’ (spatial) practices requires sufficient resources, materials, and systematic education for ECEC staff.

Keywordsearly childhood education and carelearning environmentmultilingualismlanguage-aware educationpedagogylanguage policy

Free keywordslearning environments; pedagogical translanguaging; multilingual children; language policies

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2024

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-13-05 at 18:45