Children's social play as a pathway to second language acquisition
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This article is within the area of research related to ethnic minority children in barnehager (kindergartens). Various sources have influenced my reflections. Some are related to language acquisition in a multicultural perspective, such as Bourdieu (1997) and Corsaro (1985, 2003, 2015). The contributions of Maria Øksnes (2010) reveal important insights when it comes to the value of wild play in Norwegian barnehager. I have previously completed several research projects related to play and diversity; most of the empirical data is from these publications (Kibsgaard 1993, 1997, 2003, 2014). However, the work of other researchers is also relevant (Aukrust 2007; Björk-Willén 2007; Bundgaard & Gulløv 2008; Feng et al. 2004; Fillmore 1979; Karrebæk 2011; Tabors 1997; Zachrisen 2015). All these authors have carried out research related to interethnic encounters in barnehager. Building on this research, this article considers three topics: inclusion, play, and second language acquisition. First, it is claimed that play constitutes an important arena for ethnic minority children, through which they can be included and accepted by the ethnic majority group in the barnehage. Access to play may facilitate inclusion, which constitutes my second focus. Participation in play provides opportunities for learning a second language, which is my third focus. I will explore some aspects related to what it means for children from ethnic minorities to be included in a new community of children in the barnehage, and, second, I will investigate the effect of inclusion on how these children perceive themselves and how they acquire the dominant language form used in the play routines of their peers.