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Niklas, Frank ORCID: 0000-0002-3777-7388; Tayler, Collette; Cohrssen, Caroline (2017): Bilingual children’s language learning in Australian early childhood education and care settings. In: Research Papers in Education, Vol. 33, No. 4: pp. 544-560
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Abstract

Early language ability is a strong predictor of later language and reading outcomes. Whilst young children with home languages that differ from the dominant language spoken in their country of residence may lag behind their peers in literacy and academic achievement, effective supports for young dual-language users may be overlooked in mainstream learning contexts. We used data from the Australian E4Kids longitudinal study to test how N = 343 bilingual children’s development of verbal abilities was associated with the overall attendance of early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings with varying quality (kindergarten/preschool and other formal ECEC programmes) and with environmental room quality (ECERS-R) and quality of teacher–child interactions (CLASS). Bilinguals’ English language development was followed during the two years prior to school entry and during their first year of school. A comparison of formal ECEC settings revealed programmes of significantly higher quality in kindergarten settings and the development of bilingual children’s verbal abilities in the three-year period was significantly predicted by the total hours spent in kindergarten programmes, but not by total hours spent in all types of ECEC setting. No additional effect on the children’s verbal ability was found for ECEC programme quality.