Russian-Speaking Families and Public Preschools in Luxembourg: Cultural Encounters, Challenges, and Possibilities

In the twenty-first century, multicultural encounters have become an experience that is familiar even to the youngest. In superdiverse trilingual Luxembourg, over 50% of the population are foreigners, and many of them do not speak the titular language of the country. Multicultural classrooms are studied very closely, but Russian-speaking students, a new but exponentially growing addition to the cultural mix, have not been studied yet in their journey of school integration. There is a gap between the parents and the teachers regarding perception of the content of the studies and family aspirations. Instruction in the Luxembourgish language, usually unfamiliar to Russian families, is not the only obstacle for a child to make good progress at school. The Slavic family group and the Cyrillic alphabet, different holiday calendar and traditions, as well as differences in behavioural patterns and educational models complicate the perception of implicit school rules both for the children and their parents. In this short ethnographic study, based on five in-depth semi-structured interviews with parents, qualitative data were analysed in order to single out the main challenges that Russian-speaking families face while adapting to the public Luxembourgish preschool, the first contact with Luxembourgish language and community life.

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