|Datum för examination||2012-09-07|
|Ämnesord||Learning in preschool, multilingual learning, participation, interaction, activity, communication,, zone of proximal development, scaffolding, artefact|
The aim of this research was to study the learning conditions in preschool that support young multilingual children’s language and communicative development, and their participation in activities. A sociocultural theoretical approach provides a means to understand the dynamics of children’s learning and development within a strong theoretical framework. Analytical foci used in this research included: activity, activity systems, participation, ZPD, scaffolding, interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and artefacts. An ethnographical and interaction analytic approach was used to study the preschool environment as a context for learning through child-initiated play activities and teacher-led group activities. Play, mealtime, singing, and story time activities in eight preschools were analysed through the experiences of ten multilingual children (aged 1.7 to 2.11 years). The findings show that play, mealtime, singing, and story time are a part of regular and recurring patterns of the activity system. Pedagogy; organising of activities in time; spatial and social organisation; play materials and other physical artefacts contributed to creating conditions for children’s communication and language learning. Preschool is an environment where Swedish is the dominant language of communication. From an early age, children make a distinction about what language should be used in any particular context. Languages, other than Swedish, were largely invisible in the preschools studied. There was considerable space for varied individual participation in the activities. The specific nature of this activity system implies that there are opportunities for children to participate in a range of activities with others and also to manage or change their level of participation. The activities offered different resources (other than verbal communications) for participation, such as repetition of actions, use of artefacts and involvement in music. Participation in Swedish by each child was not demanded. Differences in children’s language skills did not therefore constitute a barrier to participation in most activities. However, how effectively the learning resources were used depended on the teachers’ scaffolding. Focusing on the preschool activities and the communication opportunities provides new perspectives for understanding young multilingual children in preschool and the preschool as institutional practice. Additionally, the study provides knowledge about how to use scaffolding as a tool for learning in multilingual contexts.