Multilingualism in the Early Years : Extending the limits of our world book cover
1st Edition

Multilingualism in the Early Years
Extending the limits of our world

ISBN 9781138942455
Published April 18, 2016 by Routledge
162 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $54.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Multilingualism in the Early Years is a highly accessible text that examines the political, theoretical, ideological and practical issues involved in the education of children speaking two or more languages. Drawing on current research and thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of being multilingual, Smidt uses powerful case studies to reveal how language or languages are acquired. She explores language in terms of who shares it, its relationship to class, culture, power, identity and thinking, and its fascinating role as it moves from the personal to the public and political. More specifically the book studies:

  • what it means to be bilingual through an analysis of the language histories submitted by a range of people;
  • how language/s define people;
  • a brief history of minority education in the UK;
  • how practitioners and teachers can best support all young children as learners whilst they continue to use their first languages and remain part of and partners in their communities and cultures;
  • being bilingual: an advantage or a disadvantage?
  • the impact of multilingualism on children’s educational and life chances. 

Multilingualism in the Early Years is a really useful text for practitioners working with multilingual children, as well as any student undertaking courses in early childhood education.

Table of Contents

Part 1. 1. My language/languages  2. Being bilingual  3. How language can define you  4. How we acquire our first and subsequent languages. Part 2  5. language/languages in the school curriculum  6. the pedagogical and social reasons for children being able to use their mother tongue or first language in their early learning  7. a brief history of minority education in the UK Part 3  8. Making sense of a new world  9. Understanding multimodality and translanguaging in early education  10. The threat of a good example: Celebrating and supporting young bilingual learners  11. Implications for practitioners  Part 4  12. Which children? Whose rights?  13. Performing culture  14. Language and identity  15. Preserving language an culture  16. Pedagogy, politics and poverty


View More



Sandra Smidt is a writer and consultant in early years education.


[Has] an engaging tone and the reassuring sense that the author is a trustworthy authority on her subject. It ranges over a wide range of well-selected theoretical literature to introduce concepts related to language and language learning and is successful in mediating complex ideas for an audience which does not have the specialist knowledge to access the primary sources.

Jean Conteh, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education, University of Leeds

Written in a manner that makes it easy to read and is a good place to start for students or novice practitioners who are headed into the field of language teaching, specifically teaching English as another language to primary school students.

It has a great focus on younger children and a positive self-identity, how various cultural and linguistic backgrounds can be supported pedagogically keeping in mind the social and emotional development of young children, and also a focus on the Reggio approach with practical examples that connect theory to practice

Martha Bigelow, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota