- Many European Union and Council of Europe documents underline the importance of early language learning. At pre-primary level, 14 of the 24 countries/regions surveyed provide additional support in the national language for all children funded by the state. The Netherlands and Ukraine devote the most time to this.
- Foreign language provision at this level is offered by seven countries/regions: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Basque Country, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Estonia, Spain and Ukraine, although it may be partly or fully funded by parents/guardians. English, French and German are the most common languages offered.
- Regional/minority languages are offered by 17 countries/regions, and are mainly funded by the state/region. In some countries there are minimum group size requirements to form a group. The widest variety of languages is offered in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Ukraine.
- Provision in immigrant languages in pre-primary education is not yet very common. However, in spite of the difficulties involved in identifying appropriate teachers and learning materials, three countries (Denmark, Spain and Switzerland) do offer support to very young children for the maintenance and development of their languages and cultures of origin. In Denmark national, regional and local funds cover all costs for these programmes, while in Spain and Switzerland source-country related funds partly cover the costs through bilateral agreements.
- The only country offering early language learning across all language types is Spain.
If you haven’t already, have a read of Baby Erasmus, a great initiative in Spain and share any other good practice examples from your country by responding to this post!
You can read the LRE profile for your country on the country profile page of our website and find out more about our key findings in the first part of this series – Key findings: Official documents and databases.