The concept of language in the Swedish preschool curriculum: A theoretical and empirical examination of its productions

Aronsson, L.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 0(0):1-26.


The purpose of the study is to conduct a theoretical and empirical investigation of the broadened language concept in the curriculum with the intention of understanding the consequences this broadened definition of language creates for teaching and learning practices.


The tracking and mapping methodology showed that the understanding of kindergarten didactics about language is largely based on theories that place focus on interpersonal interaction. Many internally different language problems can be accommodated in practices that seem to be socioculturally oriented on the surface.

Language concepts in the curricula for Swedish kindergartens include both language development and practices for reading and writing development. The broad understanding of language opens up wide possibilities for how and what children should learn. Therefore, most kindergarten practices qualify as language practices.

The empirical examples showed that there is a broad didactic repertoire in use and that kindergarten employees already perform multi-epistemological didactic practices that are also aimed at both the group as a whole and individual children.


This study uses two sets of empirical data: (1) A sample of research on language and literacy didactics (2) empirical examples from an ethnography in Swedish kindergartens.

The sample of research literature includes Swedish research on languages and kindergartens, language didactics in Swedish kindergartens, and to some extent international research referred to in Swedish research. The literature has been selected based on relevance in relation to the Swedish curriculum for pre-schools and the Swedish kindergarten context.

Ethnographic data material was collected from participatory observations at three different kindergartens over a period of 9 months. Children aged 1-5 years old attended the kindergartens.

The study uses tracking and mapping as its methodology, with the aim of mapping how different trains of thought and articulations constitute a concept in specific ways. Documentation and field notes from the observations were used at staff meetings, together with research articles, popular science texts, online lectures and other material.


Aronsson, L. (2019). “The concept of language in the Swedish preschool curriculum: A theoretical and empirical examination of its productions”. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 0(0):1-26.

Financed by

Stockholm University, Sweden