Multilingual education for children aged 1 to 4

National and international experts confirm that young children are capable of learning several languages intuitively and naturally. Indeed, studies show that a very young child who is frequently exposed to more than one language develops the ability to learn languages in general with ease. The child will not only find it easier to learn several languages but also to develop their cognitive skills (comparing, analysing, prioritising, etc.) This advantage will help the child throughout their life.

The State is seizing this enormous opportunity to support very young children in their language development, thanks to a programme for multilingual education introduced in crèches in 2017, for the benefit of children aged 1 to 4.

Multilingual education brings your child into contact, today, with the languages they will speak tomorrow, and thus meets a specific need in our multicultural and multilingual country.

Exposing children to Luxembourgish and French, while encouraging use of the languages they speak at home

Aimed at children aged 1 to 4, the programme for multilingual education is offered in all education and childcare facilities (crèches) and in the mini-crèches providing childcare under the chèque-service accueil scheme.

Children come into contact with Luxembourgish and French on a daily basis from a young age through play, which is tailored to the age and pace of very young children. It stimulates the potential of young children, who are naturally curious, without placing any constraints upon them, in an everyday context (mealtimes, walks, etc.), play, nursery rhymes and so forth.

The languages spoken at home are not in any way neglected. All the children are encouraged to express themselves in their own language, as this is essential for the development of their identity and language skills. Moreover, valuing and promoting those languages awakens their curiosity and interest in the various cultures and languages they are exposed to by the people around them.

An advantage for all children

The programme for multilingual education is an important part of the government's equal opportunities policy. Children can take advantage of the programme, regardless of the language they speak at home.

As your child will be exposed to Luxembourgish and French from a very young age, they will enjoy listening to, familiarising themselves with and expressing themselves in these two languages, and will be better prepared for school.

Luxembourgish is important for integration. By familiarising themselves with that language in their early years, children who have little or no contact with Luxembourgish at home will learn it more quickly.

Daily contact with French through play allows non-French-speaking children  to take up the language in a more natural and relaxed way. In order to ensure consistency and continuity, children's introduction to French continues in cycle 1 of primary school through play-based activities. All the children benefit from this, whether it is their first contact with French or whether they have already had experience of a multilingual environment in a crèche.

When children are better prepared for our multilingual society and school system, they are better prepared for success.

20 hours of free childcare

In order to ensure equal access to the programme for multilingual education, all children aged 1 to 4 who attend a collective childcare facility are eligible for 20 hours of free childcare per week, over a period of 46 weeks per year. (also see: Free early education and childcare: non-formal education accessible to all)

Qualified educational staff

Multilingual education in crèches is provided by suitably qualified and specially trained staff. Staff are offered initial and continuing training to help them specialise in language acquisition for very young children.

A scientific committee to oversee the programme for multilingual education

A scientific committee has been set up to oversee the implementation of the programme for multilingual education.  It is composed of twelve national and international experts from various fields, including early childhood, multilingualism, the development of language skills and multilingual education. By providing reasoned opinions and constructive criticism, they help to develop educational practice and ensure the relevance and coherence of the efforts made.

Useful links

·         Bilan 2017-2020: La mise en oeuvre du programme d’éducation plurilingue dans l’accueil de la petite enfance


Educational concept

Scientific references

·         Kommentierte Bibliographie: wissenschaftliche Argumente über mehrsprachige Frühförderung

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