Mothers as First Teachers: Exploring the Features of Motherchild Interactions That Support Young Aboriginal Children’s Multilingual Learning at Playgroup
Keywords:bilingual learning, multilingual and multimodal learning, Aboriginal languages, gesture, sign language
For many Indigenous children living in remote communities, the prerequisites to achieving strong language and learning outcomes include the maintenance of their first languages and progress in learning English as an additional language. This paper reports on data from a Linkage study conducted with families at two Families as First Teachers (FaFT) playgroups in two remote Northern Territory communities. The data highlight the ways parents and carers encouraged very young children to engage in home languages as a foundation on which to develop skills in English during play and book reading activities. Transcripts of mother-child book reading and play sessions and reflections of FaFT Family Liaison Officers are examined to explore the language interactions and the strategies used by mothers to support children’s multilingual learning. The data highlight the importance of early childhood teaching and learning that honours children’s linguistic and cultural resources and prioritises families’ aspirations for children’s multilingual language learning.
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