A3 Book section, Chapters in research books
Language Education Policies and Early Childhood Education (2020)

Palviainen, Å., & Lan Curdt-Christiansen, X. (2020). Language Education Policies and Early Childhood Education. In M. Schwartz (Ed.), Handbook of Early Language Education. Springer. Springer International Handbooks of Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47073-9_7-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Palviainen, Åsa; Lan Curdt-Christiansen, Xiao

Parent publication: Handbook of Early Language Education

Parent publication editors: Schwartz, Mila

eISBN: 978-3-030-47073-9

Journal or series: Springer International Handbooks of Education

ISSN: 2197-1951

eISSN: 2197-196X

Publication year: 2020

Publisher: Springer

Place of Publication: Cham

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47073-9_7-1

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72428

Additional information: Living reference work entry. - Print version: Palviainen Å., Curdt-Christiansen X.L. (2022) Language Education Policies and Early Childhood Education. In: Schwartz M. (eds) Handbook of Early Language Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91662-6_7 ; DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-91662-6_7 ; Print ISBN 978-3-030-91661-9 ; Online ISBN 978-3-030-91662-6


This chapter discusses the importance of different types of early language education in the public system according to national policy in two geopolitical contexts: Continental Northern Europe and the UK. We define early language education policy as the language policies in early childhood education (ECE) including planning, practices, and ideologies related to the teaching and learning of languages. We present a variety of theoretical approaches and discuss their applicability to the field of early language education research. These approaches include traditional top-down policy implementation models as well as more dynamic and ecological theoretical approaches. Following that, we look at major contributions in the field, presenting empirical studies from Northern Europe and the UK following two lines of research: critical readings of ECE policy documents, and ecological approaches identifying ECE language policy agents and power. Based on our review of the empirical studies, we point out critical issues and topics that need to be addressed, such as prevailing monolingual native speaker norms; how children, communities, and languages are made (in)visible in policy texts; conflicting policy paradigms and ideologies; practical challenges in the implementation of official policy; and also how national policy documents open spaces for multilingual education in ECE. Lastly, we present some new projects in the two sociopolitical contexts and suggest directions for future research based on the idea of ecological systems, in which the roles of different policy actors and agents are examined as a function of the setting and conditions under which they operate.

Keywords: early childhood education and care; language policy; multilingualism; monolingualism; discourse analysis

Free keywords: early language education policy; early childhood education (ECE); Northern Europe; UK; critical discourse analysis; ecological approaches; multilingual children; monolingual norm

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:15