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ELSA-model – Collaboration on early structured language support in preschools

Research project
Pågående forskning
Project period
2020 - 2022
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

Short description

Early Educational Language Support Activities (ELSA) is used for research-based language support activities in preschool with the purpose to implement a language-supportive approach and to evaluate how structured language support can affect children's learning and language development and how/if it changes the staff’s language-responsive actions.

ELSA – Early Educational Language Support Activities – Collaboration on early structured language support in preschools

About the project

All children need a good foundation for reading and writing development, an equality aspect emphasized in both the national curriculum and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Preschool educators therefore need scientifically based tools to support all children's early language development in order to provide conditions for increased goal fulfillment.

In this research project, the model, Early Educational Language Support Activities (ELSA), is used for research-based language support activities in preschool. The purpose is to investigate how professional learning develops in collegial collaboration, and how a method with structured language support can affect children's learning and language development. The starting point is equality where all children are included, regardless of language ability or time for exposure to the Swedish language. The ELSA model is being tested in collaboration with preschool staff in two municipalities, Lerum municipality and Lilla Edet municipality, for increased awareness of children's language development and learning. Collegiate meetings are organized in order to stimulate professional learning. The children's language abilities are documented before and after the implementation of the staff's structured language support, for increased competence in language development and for early detection of children in need of special support in the event of language difficulties.

This project is framed by action research, where a first step is to identify a situation where language support needs to be developed. The area is observed based on the presence of the educators’ language-supporting actions that are discussed in collegial discussions. The staff then decides which changed actions are staged in a future action and which are observed and reflected on. A scientifically proven observation tool is initially used to examine the staff's existing language documents and subsequently discover any change.

Aim of the project

The study seeks answers to which language actions preschool staff identify as important to develop, how collegial conversations can contribute to learning and what enables and limits these conversations.

Project members

Ann Nordberg, The department of Education and Special Education

Karin Rönnerman, The department of Education and Special Education