Author Archives: Gunhild

The “Multilingual Childhoods” research conference in Norway

The conference “Multilingual childhoods” took place at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education in Hamar May 15-16 2019 and gathered approx. 70 participants from around 17 different countries and 4 different continents. Both the conference and pre-conference event became a success.

The pre-conference event, a doctoral symposium, provided 11 PhD students working in areas of language, literacy and literature in multilingual early childhood education contexts a unique opportunity to interact with experienced researchers in the field.

The SIG convenors (Alstad and Mourão) will edit a special issue on multilingualism in ECEC contexts in the journal EECERA with articles based on some of the conference papers.

A detailed overview of the academic program can be found on the conference websites:

EECERA conference 2018

As in previous years, the EECERA Multilingual Childhoods SIG would like to organise one or more symposia at the annual EECERA 2018  conference in Budapest 28-31 August, 2018 – the theme this year is Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities – 

If you would like to be part of a symposium related to multilingualism in early childhood education, please email Gunhild Alstad [] with a title and 250-word abstract by 1 February 2018, so that the symposium can be prepared in time for the proposal deadline, which is at the end of February. You are also encouraged to organise your own symposia, but do let us know about it so we can include it in the SIG publicity information.

Don’t forget, the Multilingual Childhoods SIG will be planning a pre-conference session on Monday afternoon, 27 August, so include this day in your travel plans!

We look forward to hearing from you and hopefully to meeting colleagues in Budapest in August 2018

EECERA pre-conference meeting 2017: Theoretical aspects of multilingualism in early childhood education

Dear members and associated members of the EECERA SIG Multilingual Childhoods,

We are happy to announce the Multilingual Childhoods pre-conference event of EECERA 2017. The format this year is a seminar/workshop on the topic “theoretical aspects of multilingualism in early childhood education”. The overall purpose for this seminar is to discuss theoretical issues in multilingualism in general and in ECEC in particular, and relevant issues to elaborate might be “what is ‘language’ in multilingual ECE contexts”. How is “language” defined, and on what epistemological and ontological grounds?

The following 3 articles will be given a short introduction (5 minutes), and then discussed by all the participants:

  • Garcia, O. & Wei, L. (2013). Translanguaging. Language, bilingualism and education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (Part 1, chapter 1, pp. 5-18). (Introduction by Professor Mila Schwartz, Israel)
  • Makoni, S. & Pennycook, A. (2007). Disinventing and reconstituting languages. I S. Makoni & A. Pennycook (Red.), Disinventing and reconstituting languages (s. 1-41). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. (Introduction by Associate Professor Carola Kleemann, Norway)
  • Puskás, T. & Björk-Willén, P. (2017). Dilemmatic aspects of language policies in a trilingual preschool group Multilingua. (Introduction by Polly Björk-Willén, Sweden)

All participants are expected to have read the papers in advance.


Chair: Gunhild T. Alstad, Norway


Where? At the conference venue – University of Bologna, Italy.

When? August 29th, from 2 pm – 5pm

Price? No additional cost – it’s included in the EECERA conference fee

Do I have to be an ECCERA member to attend? No.

Registration? Please register for the preconference event by sending an email to Gunhild Alstad: no later than the 25th of August. We are happy to distribute the articles as soon as you have registered for the preconference event.  You will need to register for the EECERA conference as usual.

A warm welcome to the “Multilingual Childhoods” SIG seminar 29 August in Bologna!


Best regards,

Gunhild and Sandie

EECERA Pre-Conference meeting  – 31 August, 2016 – Dublin City University

EECERA Multilingual Childhoods Pre-Conference meeting

31 August, 2016 – Dublin City University

From 15.30 to 17.30 – Room HG07 (School of Nursing)

Second Language Learning Research in the Early Years: Ethical Considerations

The EECERA Multilingual Childhoods SIG has organised a pre-conference meeting to bring together colleagues who share an interest in language learning in the early years. Attendance is free for members of the EECERA Multilingual Childhoods SIG and any other conference participants who would like to attend.

The focus of the EECERA Multilingual Childhoods SIG meeting will be on ethical considerations in researching second language learning (SLL) with young children in a variety of settings. The format of the meeting will be one hour of presentations and then a second hour of group discussion. Dr Máire Mhic Mhathúna, Dublin Institute of Technology and Professor Nóirín Hayes, Trinity College Dublin, will open the session with an outline of issues that apply to SLL research with young children, including children’s rights; the researchers’ image of children; researching with and about children; sites for research including families and transitions between contexts; data collection and analysis considerations, and the power differential between adults and children. They will include both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in early childhood education as they apply to SLL and will reference research projects in policy and practice contexts. An open discussion will follow and researchers will have the opportunity to discuss ethical issues that arise in their own research on SLL with young children.

Bio data

Dr Maire Mhic Mhathúna is the Assistant Head of the School of Languages Law and Social Sciences in the Dublin Institute of Technology. She has also worked as a naíonra educator and primary teacher and lectures on early childhood education and cultural and linguistic diversity. Her research interests and publications include second language acquisition in early childhood education particularly in relation to the Irish language, school readiness and transitions between pre-school and primary school.

Nóirín Hayes is Visiting Professor at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin and Professor Emeritus, Dublin Institute of Technology.  Working within a bio-ecological framework of development and through a children’s rights lens she researches in early childhood education with a particular interest in early learning, curriculum and pedagogy. She has authored many books, reports and research articles and has served on a number of government working groups, commissions and advisory groups.

We look forward to meeting you in August.

Sandie Mourão & Gunhild Tomter Alstad


EECERA Multilingual Childhoods SIG

Welcome to the Multilingual Childhoods site

Welcome to the EECERA Special Interest Group in Multilingual Childhoods.

The Special Interest Group is launched within EECERA – European Early Childhood Education Research Association

Through this SIG website we hope to contribute to the growth of national and regional research groups and to stimulate new research on a range of themes in the field.