Due to mass migrations after the Second World War and the processes, related to globalization, our country has become a place of multiculturalism. This, however, is not the only cultural phenomenon to have emerged in Slovenia – another we ought to mention is interculturalism, a phenomenon that enables coexistence and interaction of multiple cultures, typical of a single geographical area. Immigrants who have settled in our area face several problems during the process of getting acquainted with their surroundings, and these problems are usually linked to communication. Through the phenomena such as the expansion of the European Union, migrations, globalization and development of technology, the contexts of language use and language learning have become extremely important, if not indispensable.
In the theoretical part of this thesis, I present in greater detail the phenomenon of bilingualism and the processes of acquisition of the first and the second languages. I also define multilingualism and plurilingualism, mentioning further the individual differences in multilingual children, as well as the levels of competence of the teachers and the cooperation with the parents of multilingual children. Afterwards, I focus on intercultural upbringing, more specifically, on the definitions, objectives and perceptions of intercultural upbringing during the pre-school period, and then describe in detail the guidelines for the inclusion of intercultural upbringing into the pre-school curriculum. Further, I delve into the subject of intercultural competences acting as important factors in the realisation of intercultural upbringing and touch upon the role of a pre-school teacher in the realisation of intercultural upbringing. In the last chapter of the theoretical part of the thesis, I address the subject of cooperation between the teachers and the parents of immigrant children.
The empirical part of the thesis presents the objectives of the research and the questions, featured in the research, the purpose of which was to establish firstly the pre-school teachers’ perceptions of the terms bilingualism and intercultural upbringing as one of many possible useful methods of working with children in the kindergarten; secondly, to establish to which degree pre-school teachers feel competent to work with bilingual children and children of immigrants/foreigners and in which way they carry out the pedagogical work with these bilingual children and children with diverse cultural backgrounds in general; and thirdly, to establish how well-acquainted the pre-school teachers are with the languages and cultures of the children. Following this, the analysis of the interviews is given and the interpretation of the results is also attempted.
The thesis closes with a number of final conclusions, in which the results of the research are especially taken into consideration, the responses from pre-school teachers are highlighted and suggestions for improving the current state of affairs and guidelines for further research are presented.