Integrating and emulating: Early english initiatives in Portugal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One of the main objectives of European Union language education policy is to introduce two foreign languages from a very early age. As a result in the last fifteen years, second or foreign languages are being taught to children at ever-younger ages. This chapter looks first at early childhood education and care and then at the emerging evidence that a foreign language (usually English) is being taught, often as a result of parental influence both in relation to the provision of a foreign language and choice of language. Discussion around the relevant issues leads to suggestions for an integrated approach to foreign language provision. It suggests a curriculum model that emulates pre-primary practices, that recognizes play as a child’s work, includes circle time supported by routine, child-initiated and teacher-led activity and when suitable, collaborative practices as the way forward. The chapter provides examples of practice from a pre-primary institution in Portugal to exemplify how this model works in reality and conveys five issues that require consideration for the model to be successful.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Instructed Second Language Acquisition
Subtitle of host publicationPathways to Competence
EditorsJoanna Rokita-Jaśkow, Melanie Ellis
PublisherMultilingual Matters
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781788922517
ISBN (Print)9781788922494
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameEarly Language Learning in School Contexts


  • pre-primary education
  • foreign language learning
  • play
  • English learning areas
  • collaborative practices


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