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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>In 2009 Strasbourg Council issued a call for tenders for an in-service training course aimed at nursery school assistants working in the city to enable them to better “communicate with non-French speaking children”. A small team of teachers and researchers from the University of Strasbourg responded to this call, firmly believing in the pivotal role played by nursery assistants in children’s language development given their close daily contact with children and their families. In this article we firstly situate Strasbourg pre-schools within the local and national context, referring to French ministerial policy documents and statistics which reflect the extent and nature of super-diversity in the region. Secondly, we describe, analyse and evaluate the content, approach and impact of this innovative course referring to qualitative data collected from course participants. Findings suggest that nursery school assistants, when empowered with knowledge about language and guided in their exploration of approaches which support language development, can help early learners to bridge the gap between home and school. A deeper appreciation of the complexities of plurilingual repertoire and multiple identity construction appear to reinforce confidence to meet the challenges of super-diversity at pre-school and strengthen nursery assistants in their role as caring professionals.</jats:p>
European Journal of Applied Linguistics – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2014
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