Worldwide, more parents are opting for immersion pre-schooling for their children in order to benefit from its linguistic, educational, and cultural benefits. This immersion can be either bilingual or monolingual, aimed at early second language learning, or at language maintenance – offering minority language children mother-tongue support and enrichment.
This book examines some of the key issues and policy concerns relating to immersion education in the early years. The term itself can be difficult in some political contexts, as can the differing outcomes noted by studies comparing monolingual programmes, and bilingual programmes for minority language children. The importance of training in immersion methodology for educators is discussed, as is the need to adapt preschool pedagogical practices to the immersion context, in order to provide optimal input for young language learners. One of the most pressing discussions surrounds differentiated provision – ensuring that the varying needs of children with language impairment, typical second language learners, and mother-tongue speakers with significant socioeconomic or linguistic disadvantages are all met.
Overall, the book explores the challenges currently facing the sector, particularly with regard to training and professional development for practitioners, and the provision of appropriate materials in less widely used languages. Given the documented benefit of high quality immersion pre-schooling, this book fulfils an urgent need to increase the recognition of the sector. This book was published as a special issue of International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.
Introduction: Immersion education in the early years Tina M. Hickey and Anne-Marie de Mejía
1. Bilingual and biliteracy skills in young Spanish-speaking low-SES children: impact of instructional language and primary language proficiency Kathryn Lindholm-Leary
2. (Re)-introduction to French: four education models to revitalise an endangered group in Eastern Canada Marianne Cormier, Jimmy Bourque and Manon Jolicoeur
3. Factors, processes and outcomes of early immersion education in the Francophone Community in Belgium Aafke Buyl and Alex Housen
4. Swedish immersion in the early years in Finland Siv Björklund, Karita Mård-Miettinen and Marjo Savijärvi
5. How deep is your immersion? Policy and practice in Welsh-medium preschools with children from different language backgrounds Tina M. Hickey, Gwyn Lewis and Colin Baker
6. Bilingual education for all: Latino dual language learners with language disabilities Gabriela Simon-Cereijido and Vera F. Gutiérrez-Clellen