Although language diversity poses short-term challenges, early multilingualism and multi-literacy come with great benefits, at least, when it is correctly supported. Currently, many language minority (LM) families are distressed about language issues and many early childhood (EC) professionals (such as parenting advisors and childcare staff) feel insecure in their approach toward LM families. This project aims to transform this societal problem by promoting early multilingualism and multi-literacy in childhood and childcare in Flanders.
In the first phase of the project, large-scale data (survey with 1000 parents and 500 professionals) and small-scale data (in-depth observations with both) will be collected. This will generate critical insights about the needs of LM families and competencies of EC professionals. In the second phase, this knowledge will be integrated into five valorisation applications that will address the broad field of EC professionals. These are:
1- Pro-M-Platfom: a virtual platform for knowledge transfer that will feed the other four applications during the project and will be released to the general public with the large-scale data.
2- Pro-M-Dev: a professional development trajectory program, co-created by parenting advisors.
3- Pro-M-MOOC: an open online course for educators of EC professionals.
4- Pro-M-Bib: a hybrid library to promote early multiliteracy in public libraries, co-created by librarians.
5- Pro-M-MemoQ: a quality-assurance and self-assessment tool for childcare institutions.
To ensure that the project results have real societal impact, the applications will be implemented during the project and disseminated by the central societal organisations who were co-initiators of this research proposal.