Learning Opportunities of Monolingual and Multilingual kindergarteners and their Early Literacy and Executive Functioning Development

Annegien Langeloo, Marjolein Deunk, Mayra Mascareño Lara, Maaike van Rooijen, Jan-Willem Strijbos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nowadays, classrooms include children coming from a wide range of cultures and speaking different languages. Teachers are therefore challenged to create appropriate learning opportunities for very diverse children. The current study examined the unique contribution of general classroom interaction, individual teacher-child interactions and behavioral engagement, on early literacy and executive functioning development of monolingual and multilingual kindergartners. Nineteen classrooms were followed for one school year. On three occasions teacher and children were observed for teacher-child interactions and the children were assessed on engagement, early literacy and executive functioning. Research findings: The results show that learning outcomes of both multilingual and monolingual children were positively associated with high engagement in large groups and frequent interactions with the teacher. Furthermore, monolingual children’s favorable academic outcomes were predicted by complex interactions; multilingual children’s favorable outcomes were predicted by low classroom organization. Practice or policy: The present study emphasizes the importance of recognizing the differences between monolingual and multilingual children in their needs in the classroom, as well as recognizing that these groups might be unjustifiably exposed to different educational experiences, in order to optimize the learning opportunities for all children, regardless of their language background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1246
Number of pages23
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • learning opportunities
  • multilingualism
  • children
  • Classroom
  • interactions


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