Language orientations in early childhood education policy in Finland and Norway.

Alstad, G. T., Sopanen, P.


The purpose of this study is to clarify which language ideologies are found in Norwegian and Finnish kindergarten policies. The research question is: What characterises the language orientations in public policy documents for kindergartens in Finland and Norway?


The analysis shows that the language orientation in kindergarten policy in the two countries is rather vague and open. On the one hand, multilingualism is seen as a resource. On the other hand, multilingualism is considered challenging in terms of linguistic diversity, support for multilingualism and the development of mother tongues. In both countries, a monolingual ideology seems to underlie the policy.


The document analysis includes seven policy documents related to kindergartens in Finland and Norway. The analysis had two stages: firstly, the identification and selection of the policy documents, and then the implementation of a summative content analysis of the selected documents. The analysis involved counting and comparing keywords, followed by an interpretation of the underlying context.


Alstad, G. T. & Sopanen, P. (2021). "Language orientations in early childhood education policy in Finland and Norway". Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 7(1):30-43.

Financed by

The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS), Finland. The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Finland