Perspectives on bi- and multilingual children's participation in kindergartens in Iceland

Hanna Ragnarsdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cultural and linguistic diversity of kindergarten children in Iceland has been growing rapidly in recent years (Reykjavíkurborg, Skóla- og frístundasvio, 2017; Statistics Iceland, 2017), creating challenges for kindergartens. The main aim of the paper is to explore how principals, kindergarten teachers and parents in three kindergartens in Iceland experience diversity, inclusion and participation in their kindergartens and what learning spaces and educational practices seem to be instrumental for their children's participation. The paper builds on data from the Nordic research project Learning Spaces for Inclusion and Social Justice: Success Stories from Immigrant Students and School Communities in Four Nordic countries (2013-2015), the aim of which was to draw lessons from success stories of individual immigrant students and whole school communities at different levels that have succeeded in developing learning contexts that are equitable and socially just (Ragnarsdóttir, 2015; Ragnarsdóttir & Kulbrandstad, 2018). Case studies were conducted in three kindergartens, including semi-structured interviews with kindergarten teachers, principals and parents as well as observation (Flick, 2006; Kvale, 2007). The findings indicate that the kindergartens have developed various inclusive and empowering educational practices to respond to the growing diversity. However, some challenges appear in the findings, including lack of sustainability of good practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-159
Number of pages22
JournalAILA Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Benjamins Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Iceland
  • Inclusion
  • Kindergartens
  • Social justice


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