Knowing who you are: Heritage language, identity and safe space in a bilingual kindergarten

Taylor-Leech, Kerry and Tualaulelei, Eseta ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8393-7015 (2021) Knowing who you are: Heritage language, identity and safe space in a bilingual kindergarten. TESOL in Context, 30 (1). pp. 63-83. ISSN 1030-8385


Abstract

Evidence shows that when young children’s diverse language heritages are valued and supported, there are benefits for their linguistic and conceptual development, their sense of identity and their learning. However, there are few early learning settings in Australia which nurture young children’s bilingual repertoires. And, while it is well established that early childhood is a critical period for first and second language acquisition, there is a lack of empirical research available on children’s bilingual development in institutional early childhood education and care. Against this backdrop, our article reports on a study of a bilingual Samoan community kindergarten (a’oga amata) in southeast Queensland. In this paper, we focus on how the a’oga amata supported the maintenance of the children’s heritage language and culture. We explore language use in the a’oga amata, the cultural values underpinning the educators’ practices, and the positive responses of the children and parents in the study. We also examine the constraints on the community leaders and educators’ efforts to create an authentic bilingual experience in this English-dominant environment. Finally, we revisit the notion of safe spaces for young bilingual learners (Conteh & Brock, 2011) and rearticulate the need for clear language policies that support heritage language education.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 48198
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 01:50
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 01:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, Pacific Islanders, Samoan, aoga amata, kindergarten, immersion, heritage language, safe space
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3904 Specialist studies in education > 390410 Multicultural education (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Māori and Pacific Peoples)
39 EDUCATION > 3999 Other Education > 399999 Other education not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390302 Early childhood education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1699 Other education and training > 169999 Other education and training not elsewhere classified
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1602 Schools and learning environments > 160201 Equity and access to education
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160101 Early childhood education
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.21153/tesol2021vol30no1art1581
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48198

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only